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$25,000 reward offered in abused puppy case

Dr. Danielle Wharton, an emergency veterinary, cares for

Dr. Danielle Wharton, an emergency veterinary, cares for a 12-week-old male pitbull after it was tied up in a plastic bag and thrown out of a car in Islip town, at Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island, West Islip. (Aug. 13, 2012) Credit: Heather Walsh

Outrage and puppy love has fueled the reward -- $25,000 so far -- in the case of the pit bull puppy whose neck was fractured after someone stuffed him in a plastic bag and flung him from a car in Brentwood on Saturday.

The story of Joey -- screaming in pain, malnourished and used perhaps as dogfighting bait -- has led to one of the biggest bounties in a Long Island animal abuse case. Investigators say people should be on the lookout for someone who may have had a brown and white brindle pup that disappeared or someone bragging over the reward on their heads.

"Maybe you don't care about an animal, but do you care about your fellow human being or a child?" said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Because people like that have no regard for anybody."

The ASPCA contributed $15,000, the SPCA $5,000 and North Shore Animal League in Port Washington $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Confidential tips may be given to SPCA at 631-382-7722.

Joey was thrown out of a fast-moving car about 1:30 p.m. Saturday onto the Sagtikos Parkway entrance of the Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, said Joanne Daly, supervisor of Islip Town's animal shelter, which took the puppy to Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island.

The 3-month-old pup had bruised lungs and bite wounds on his neck, and weighed 10 pounds when he should have been at least 15, doctors said.

But Thursday, with well-wishers' cards decking his upper berth, Joey had a "great day," said Dr. Lynda Louden, chief of emergency medicine at the West Islip practice, which specializes in critical cases."He continues to make small improvements each day," she said.

He will be hospitalized for at least six weeks as doctors see if fractures in three of his six neck bones heal.

Most of the time, the puppy lies on his side, in a suit of bandages to keep his neck still.

But he's moving his legs more, a sign he may walk again, and gotten his licks in on whoever presents a cheek to him.

"He wants to survive," Daly said. "He really wants people to love him, and he deserves that."

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