Abused pit bull puppy gets back on his paws

Since Joey?s plight made news, $39,000 has been

Since Joey’s plight made news, $39,000 has been donated for his care and $27,000 for information leading to his abuser’s conviction. (Aug. 31, 2012) (Credit: Heather Walsh)

He barks, has spunk and eats like a champion. Joey, the abused pit bull puppy, is also walking again.

He's being fostered by his caregivers, who discharged him Friday from Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island in West Islip, three weeks after his neck was fractured when someone stuffed him in a bag and flung it from a moving car in Brentwood. Since Joey's plight made news, $39,000 has been donated for his care and $27,000 for information leading to his abuser's conviction.

At the center Friday, the 3-month-old pup wobbled like a newborn colt as he walked up to people, seeking attention.

"He's doing very well," said Dr. Lynda Loudon-Sheppard, chief of emergency medicine. "He tires very easily, but he's much stronger than we ever expected at this stage."

Treats sent by animal lovers have helped during therapy, the veterinarian said.

When doctors first saw the puppy screaming in pain, it was unclear if his three fractures would heal or if he'd ever walk.

Joey needs months of care. He gets physical therapy twice a day. His custom neck brace will arrive this week from Canada. Later, he will strengthen leg muscles on a water treadmill.

Doctors are trying to correct his "cage legs." Joey's legs bend a bit crooked -- sign of having lived in a cage that is too small, said Loudon-Sheppard.

Joey, who will be up for adoption in about a month, was found Aug. 11 at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center's Sagtikos Parkway entrance. He had fresh bite wounds on his neck and healed ones on his face, indicating he might have been used as dogfighting bait.

Confidential tipsters may call the SPCA at 631-382-7722. Donors can visit the veterinary center's website at vmcli.com or call 631-587-0800.Joey will be up for adoption in about a month, and more than 100 people have already asked to take him home.

"We are not 100 percent sure he will ever walk normally," Loudon-Sheppard said, "but he will be able to walk and run."

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