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Pit bull used as bait recovering from surgery: ‘Sweet girl is in good hands’

RICHMOND, Va. -- Officials said the badly injured pit bull discovered in Richmond's Church Hill neighborhood earlier this week was recovering from surgery Thursday evening.

A neighbor on N 33rd Street in Church Hill was leaving for work when they spotted the dog shivering in some bushes on the street Monday morning.  After seeing the dog's condition, the woman called animal control officers.

Veterinarians were able to stop hypothermia from setting in and cleaned up her multiple bite wounds earlier this week.  The pit bull, estimated to be three or four years old, was given a new name Thursday morning before surgery.

"Thank you for all of the name suggestions! We think Penelope fits her best," officials posted on Facebook. "This sweet girl is in good hands with Dr. Mercurio and I'll update you when she's done! Send all the love!"

Dr. Mercurio and Penelope.

Dr. Mercurio and Penelope.

Around 8 p.m. officials noted that Penelope was out of surgery and doing well.

"She had a fracture and holes through to her sinus. However, it looks like she might not lose her left eye," officials said. "I would post after pictures but you would cry. A little gruesome for public sharing."

RACC Director Christie Chipps Peters told WTVR CBS 6 that the dozens of bite marks on the bit pull's face and front legs are classic indicators that the animal was used to train other dogs for dog fighting.

Chipps Peters said the pit bull has a sweet, kind demeanor.

"She's the nicest dog. It's always the case," Chipps Peters.

Investigators from Animal Control and Richmond Police are looking into multiple tips about how  the dog ended up abandoned and badly wounded in Church Hill.  Chipp Peters said they are hopeful more people will come forward with tips.

Penelope.

Penelope.

"If you see something, no matter what you think it is, call us," Chipp Peters said.  "If you're internal gauge goes off, and you think, 'that's not normal' or 'I don't think that's right,' don't just try and push it away, call."

RACC is asking for donations to help offset the costs of the dog's medical bills, and once her condition improves, officials are hopeful someone will come forward to foster her.

Chipp Peters added there are more than 400 animals at the city shelter who need a permanent home.  You can find out more on RACC's website.