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Dog found with jar on head may have been 'blood bait' in fighting ring

A black Labrador Retriever that was found with a plastic jar stuck around his head and cuts to one of his paws is doing well after surgery, according to volunteers from a North Texas animal group.

Rescuers suspect someone cut the animal's paw so his blood would attract other dogs being trained to fight, and the jar kept him from fighting back.

After receiving a call from a woman who found the dog, now named "Pappy," wandering the streets of Oak Cliff, Texas, rescuers from Animal Allies of Texas were able to catch him on Monday and take him to the vet.

Pappy had fleas and ticks and was severely dehydrated and emaciated when he was found. Rescuers said the jar prevented him from eating or drinking, and he weighed 65 lbs. when he should have weighed 90 lbs.

In addition to the jar, rescuers said Pappy had bite marks on him, which they say are evidence he may have been used as a bait dog in a dog-fighting ring.

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“This was deliberate. The bottom of the jar had been cut out so he would not be able to get out himself,” an Animal Allies of Texas volunteer, Melody Hamilton, told NBC News. “In my opinion, he was thrown into a situation where he was made to provoke another dog to fight.”

Rescuers removed the jar, and on Wednesday, the lab-mix had surgery at Metro Paws Animal Hospital to amputate the first toe on his left paw. Hamilton said she suspects Pappy will stay there for a few more days to recover.

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Hamilton said as Pappy’s physical condition stabilizes, vets and volunteers will shift their focus to his emotional state.

“Dog fighting is rampant in all socio-economic areas,” Hamilton said. “Lucky for him, he escaped that situation. Now it’s a matter of dealing with all of the emotional distress.”

After Pappy has had all of his medical treatment, Animal Allies of Texas will be looking for someone to adopt him.

They are currently accepting donations to help with Pappy’s hospital bills.

Elvira Sakmari of NBC Dallas-Ft. Worth contributed to this report.

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