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Former dogfighting 'bait dog' escapes euthanasia at Southern California animal shelter, seeks new home

September 17, 2010 |  2:11 pm

PhoenixShepherd

A German shepherd who survived life as a "bait dog" for a dogfighting operation before being abandoned on the streets of Norwalk, then narrowly avoided being euthanized at a Los Angeles County animal shelter, has been rescued and is now in the market for a new home.

The dog's appearance told his story: He bore numerous scars, bite wounds not yet healed and, most shocking of all, ears that had been crudely cut off and allowed to heal without the aid of veterinary care. He had ailments to boot: Infections of the skin and ear canals, flea dermatitis and arthritis.

His gentle temperament stood in stark contrast to the horrors he'd obviously endured, and shelter staff and volunteers quickly warmed to the dog, whom they named Luke. When he was scheduled to be euthanized, volunteers went into high gear to find an adopter or a nonprofit rescue group that would take him. One group, Coastal German Shepherd Rescue, came through.

Luke, now called Phoenix (as in, "rises from the ashes") by his rescuers, is now receiving the veterinary care he needs and enjoying life in his foster home. "Phoenix cuddled with an orphan kitten and made friends with a bouncy terrier pup," reads an update on Coastal German Shepherd Rescue's website. "There is no other word to describe him, except amazing!"

Phoenix will be adopted through Coastal German Shepherd Rescue, and the group is also accepting donations via PayPal to help with his extensive veterinary bills. Learn more about him and see video at our sister site, KTLA.com.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A screen grab from KTLA video shows Phoenix's crudely cropped ears. Credit: KTLA

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