MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Moose, a pit bull, is recovering at The Pet Clinic of Martinsville.
He got his name from the veterinarians at the clinic because of the size of his head when he was brought in about three weeks ago.
Veterinarian Leigh Crawford said he had many injuries.
"He was not standing. He was covered in blood. He had multiple puncture wounds throughout his body, multiple lacerations on his body. His head, especially on the left-hand side, was swollen to about two times the normal size," Crawford recalled.
Martinsville Animal Control Officer E.C. Stone said he has suspected for more than three weeks though that dog fighting may be going on.
"Sometime around Thanksgiving, I had a citizen pull me over and he informed me of several individuals that were fighting dogs," Stone said.
Stone is still investigating, but said Moose could be evidence to support the claim.
He said the dog's injuries suggest dog fighters were using him as bait.
"They will put the bait dog in with one single dog to fight and typically they'll use this size dogs that are very passive or a smaller dog. They'll use them to train the dogs to fight and kill," Stone said.
He asks anyone who has any information about the dog to contact him at the police department.
"It's a class six felony to possess fighting dogs, to have training tools for training dogs to fight, to aid or bet," Stone said.
Moose was emaciated when he came in but has since gained about 10 pounds.
"We were unable to fully open his mouth, or jaw, at that time due to his injuries. We could tell he had numerous fractured teeth in there. His tail was broken in one spot. He still is missing digits on his left front paw," Crawford explained.
Once he is fully healthy, he will be put up for adoption.
"It makes us sad and you hurt for them because it's not their fault," Crawford said. "That's the hardest part, I guess, for me. When I see an animal that's injured or hurt or sick, they aren't there of their own accord."