Young pit bull shot; caregivers work to save his leg


A pit bull found shot and hiding in a Westport garage is being nursed back to health with help from caregivers at a Cranston, RI, shelter.

Liam, as the young male is now called, may still lose his wounded right front leg, but will survive, says Westport Animal Control Officer Donna Lambert. The dog, whom she described as "a real sweetheart," has received adoption offers and enough donations to assure his care at Handsome Dan's Rescue for Pit Bull Type Dogs, the Cranston shelter to which he was taken.

Ms. Lambert said she had been tracking the dog for about ten days, responding to sightings "up and down Route 6, on Old Bedford Road, even on Route 195."

Then late last week, an Old Bedford Road resident called to report that an injured pit bull was cowering in his portable garage.

Ms. Lambert retrieve the dog and took it for veterinary care. The first thought was that he had been hit by a car or maybe bitten by a dog or coyote. But x-ray examination showed that he had been shot — it is unclear how often because some of the visible punctures may be from bone fragments.

"He was badly hurt," she said, and it was quickly apparent that the dog's medical bills would quickly surpass the small amount available in Westport's budget for such things.

Word got out via social media and Handsome Dan's offered to help. On Saturday, the dog was taken to Cranston and placed into quarantine (having crossed state lines).

Ms. Lambert said that caretakers won't know whether the leg can be saved until the swelling goes down. "But whatever happens, people have stepped forward with generous donations to assure that he will get the care he needs."

For Ms. Lambert (and Westport Police who are investigating), a couple of questions remain.

They are trying to find out who shot the dog. She said she is aware that some people dislike the put bull breed "but I would hate to think that someone just maliciously shot him … He is incredibly obedient and gentle."

Perhaps, she said, someone saw the dog near livestock or felt personally threatened. "I don't want to assume the worst."

And she hopes to learn how the dog came to be running loose in the first place. "Was he abandoned for some reason, lost?"

Ms. Lambert has set up a reward fund in hopes of solving the shooting mystery. Checks can be made out to Liam Reward Fund via Westport Town Hall. She has also set up a Westport animal assistance fund to which donations can also be made via Town Hall.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.