Charlie is sorry no more. The SPCA of Erie County is nursing a pitbull-terrier mix they named Charlie back to health, after Buffalo sanitation workers found him injured and emaciated in a garbage tote.
SPCA Spokesperson Gina Browning said Charlie's story began Tuesday morning. City sanitation workers were in the Bailey-Walden neighborhood on the East Side, when they noticed something different about the garbage tote about to be dumped into their truck.
"They were doing their rounds collecting garbage (Tuesday) morning and after emptying one residential garbage tote, they noticed that the garbage was moving," Browning said. "They noticed that there was a dog - who was alive, but not in very good shape - inside of that tote. So they were very observant. They contacted the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter, who in turn contacted us."
Browning said the young adult dog at the time could not stand, walk or barely lift his head in the frigid morning temperatures. He had pressure sores and numerous cuts and bruises on its head, face and other parts of his body.
"Well, when I first heard about this, of course, my first question was, 'Well, if it was a healthy dog, couldn't he knock the tote over and extract himself from it?' but once we saw how the dog was when came in, he couldn't even stand up," Browning said. "So chances are he wouldn't have had the strength to do that."
"No. Oh no," said Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Helene Chevalier. "He was shutting down, he was laying down, he was lethargic, as we say in medical terms, and right now, he's hurting in his left front leg and he's so skinny."
Chevalier said medical staff went to work warming up the dog's body temperature.
"When he first came in to see us this morning, he was very cold and he's very skinny. I don't know if you can appreciate it. And his temperature was so low," Chevalier said, petting Charlie on Facebook. "So as an emergency, the staff here at the SPCA, we all worked to put warm towels on him. We put a little chip in his vein and we're giving him fluids."
Chevalier said Charlie's temperature has returned to normal and he can stand and walk again. He is being hand-fed and responding to medical treatment.
Browning said Charlie is being treated as an intentional animal cruelty case. The SPCA has been providing twice-daily Facebook updates, which Browning said has brought in some tips on the case.
She said anyone with information is asked to call the SPCA and can remain anonymous.