***We want to warn you, the pictures and video you’ll see in this story are graphic.***
Limestone County veterinarians are doing all they can to save a dog’s leg after they said someone tried to “play vet.” It's one of the worst cases of animal cruelty one vet said he's ever seen.
The dog, now named “Deniro,” is fighting a serious infection after someone tried to fix his fractured leg. He's now recovering at the Limestone Veterinary Clinic.
“He had some type of make-shift splint on his left rear leg," Dr. Robert Pitman said. "You could smell him longer than you ever saw him.”
The dog, Deniro, wandered up to someone’s home in the Owens community of Limestone County with a limp.
Animal control officers picked him up and took him to the Limestone Veterinary Clinic, where Dr. Robert Pitman learned someone had put a homemade splint, made of a stick and tape, on the dog’s fractured leg. But Dr. Pitman said they didn’t do a very good job.
“It was packed with dry dirt. Hair had fallen off," Pitman said. "The skin was beginning to rot and had maggots in it. It was just a real mess.”
Pitman said whoever put the contraption on the dog’s leg put it on the wrong part of his leg. The dog’s femur was fractured, but the tibia was fine.
Pitman says they bound the stick with tape so tightly, it was embedding in the dog’s skin and cutting off circulation. His paw was four times the size it should’ve been.
“It even ranks up there with some we’ve seen where people have slashed them with butcher knives," Pitman said about the wounds.
Pitman said, from looking at the damage, the make-shift splint was probably on the dog for at least a week.
Pitman believes Deniro is less than a year old and already shows signs of malnourishment.
“As a ten-month-old Great Pyrenees, he should weigh probably 65 or 70 pounds. He weighs 44.”
Pitman told WAAY 31 most vets would’ve either amputated the leg or put the dog down, but he wanted to save him.
“Even with the pain and discomfort he was in, he had such a good disposition," he said.
Pitman said he hopes the person who did this to Deniro is found and charged with animal cruelty.
“Whoever did this, put this appliance on this dog, should be held accountable," he said. "That’s cruelty in the worst degree right there.”
Deniro’s leg could still be amputated, but Dr. Pitman said he’s hoping that doesn’t have to happen.
The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office is investigating this, and whoever is responsible could face criminal charges.
Dr. Pitman says it will take a month to six weeks for Deniro to recover. After that, he will be available for adoption at the Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter.