RICHMOND, Va. - An investigation was opened after a badly injured pit bull was found in Church Hill Monday morning. By Tuesday morning, a Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) post on Facebook of the dog's injuries had gone viral locally.
A neighbor on N 33rd Street in Church Hill was leaving for work when they spotted the dog, now called "Kenzie Rae," shivering in some bushes on the street. After seeing the dog's condition, the woman called animal control officers.
"The vets called me and sent me a picture and were like, 'I don't know if we're going to win this one,'" RACC Director Christie Chipps Peters said.
Doctors at Virginia Veterinarian Clinic in Carytown were able to stop hypothermia from setting in and cleaned up Kenzie Rae's multiple bite wounds. The pit bull, estimated to be three or four years old, was able to walk around the animal hospital and drink water on her own on Tuesday afternoon.
Doctors said Kenzie Rae likely needs one more surgery and rest, but said her prognosis is looking much better. Veterinarians are working to save the dog's eyes and help her fight infection.
Chipps Peters said 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," said Chipps Peters.
Investigators from Animal Control and Richmond Police are looking into multiple tips about how Kenzie Rae ended up abandoned and badly wounded in Church Hill. Chipp Peters said they are hopeful more people will come forward with tips.
"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."
Unfortunately, cases like this one appear to be on the rise in Richmond, according to Chipp Peters. "Our cruelty and neglect convictions have doubled this year, and that's just convictions, not cases we're still working through court," she said.
RACC is asking for donations to help offset the costs of Kenzie Rae'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.