Romeo is in the care of the Humane Society of Northwest Indiana. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 18, 2013 8:17AM
GARY — Even with his face ravaged by blood, scars and infection, Romeo offered his welcome to the Gary animal control officers who rescued him from a life of abuse and neglect, wagging his tale enthusiastically in greeting.
Romeo, a 2-year-old pit bull, was discovered May 9 by a NIPSCO worker who called police to report the dog’s condition in a yard near 21st Avenue and Grant Street.
While the other pit bulls in the yard appeared bigger, stronger and healthy, Romeo is malnourished and suffering from old and new wounds. His left ear is nearly gone, lost in a battle he didn’t have the strength to fight.
When animal control officers brought Romeo to their building, police liaison Sgt. Darlene Breitenstein recognized the extent of his injuries. “We would have to put him down. We couldn’t afford all the medical help he needs,” she said Thursday.
Breitenstein contacted the Humane Society of Northwest Indiana, who arranged for Romeo to be treated at the Munster Animal Clinic, where veterinarians put him to sleep for a brief time every day to cleanse and medicate the infections on his face, head and front legs.
The bills are adding up, however, and the not-for-profit Humane Society is seeking donations to help pay for Romeo’s recovery.
“He’s a beautiful dog, an absolutely beautiful dog. He’s very friendly and it’s easy to tell that he has a lot to give,” Breitenstein said. Breitenstein said the wounds appear to be the result of extensive fighting, but the owner claims Romeo was attacked by a raccoon.
Shortly after Romeo’s story and photos appeared on the Humane Society’s Facebook page, donations started coming in from as far away as England. Already, his account has about $2,000.
Breitenstein is investigating the case and those responsible for Romeo’s condition could be charged, she said. She declined to comment further because the matter is still being reviewed.
Anyone wishing to donate to Romeo’s fund can do so through a PayPal account set up for him at: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=ZWJB76C2LAP7U