When rescuers got a call about a crying puppy left in a dumpster in Long Beach over the weekend, they thought it was a simple case of abandonment.
“Bring her right over,” the volunteers at Sparky and the Gang Animal Rescue said, adding that they had everything they needed to nurse sick dogs back to health. The team had just treated a litter of puppies left inside a box covered in human feces, said Diana Kliche, an attorney who volunteers with another rescue group, Fix Long Beach.
But the little white dog found in the trash bin was a far more severe — and cruel — case than they anticipated, said Kliche, who named the dog Chloe. The 1-year-old Maltese-poodle-terrier mix smelled of urine and had visible bruises to the side of her head and a hind leg that had been broken in half.
On the way to the veterinarian’s office, Kliche thought several times the dog had died. She didn’t move, her tongue stuck out and her eyes were closed.
Her matted hair was covered with bits of rancid onions, spaghetti and ham. Kliche said she thinks someone beat the animal, tossed her in their kitchen trash can and then threw the bag in a dumpster behind apartments near the 1000 block of Walnut Avenue, a residential area.
Someone in that neighborhood must have seen the pup before, she said.
“Someone knows who did this, and it’s scary this person is still out there. They could be your neighbor, your coworker. What’s going to set them off next time?”
Now, the two rescue groups — Sparky and the Gang and Fix Long Beach — are offering a $1,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to the arrest of the person who abused Chloe. Long Beach Animal Care Services is handling the investigation.
Veterinarians at Primary Care Animal Hospital later learned the little dog had broken ribs, a fractured skull and brain swelling. The urine on the dog was human, not animal.
Donations have poured in from the community, both for Chloe’s medical bill and the reward, Kliche said. She expects the dog’s medical expenses will run between $7,000 and $12,000. Donations already have totaled $3,500.
Chloe was doing much better Monday night. Despite the abuse, Chloe is lifting her head, has tried to stand and even is wagging her tail, Kliche said.
“She’s such an adorable dog. She’s very sweet. Even after everything she’s been through, she’s not afraid.”
Some people have called in thinking Chloe could be their dog, but so far, none of the cases have matched, Kliche said. Others have offered to foster the terrier mix or adopt her. But Chloe has a long road to recovery before that’s possible.
Nancy Hickey, the front office manager for Primary Care Animal Hospital, said Chloe was transferred to a 24-hour care facility, Long Beach Animal Emergency, where she’ll likely spend another night or two before being transferred again.
Hickey said Chloe’s abuse is the worst she has seen.
“I’ve done this 30 years and … it was the most god-awful thing I’ve ever seen,” Hickey said. “This is unacceptable for any animal to suffer the way this one did.”
Vets are waiting for the dog to be stable enough to safely handle anesthesia for a surgery that will either help heal or require amputation of her broken leg, Kliche said.
“It really is a miracle she survived,” Kliche said.