Branded dog gets new home, new name

By Valencia

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - When Phil Husenitza got a call from a friend, he knew he may have stumbled on a second chance at puppy love.

"He had called me up and told me that he had found this dog in the road and he had went around him initially," said Husenitza. "And he looked in his rear view mirror and saw that two cars almost hit him."

Husenitza says his friend turned around and picked up the dog. The dog had been abused, branded on both sides with the number "300" and starved.

"This dog came in freeze-branded," said Joe Elmore, the CEO of Charleston Animal Society. "What that means is that someone has taken a iron, a branding iron, and has frozen it basically with like liquid nitrogen or dry ice and alcohol."

Elmore says by his estimation the dog is three or four years old.

"What happens is that hair won't grow back in or it grows back in the same color and it forms a number. And, this dog, it formed the number 300. Now, these dogs are typically hunting dogs and used for fox hunting," Elmore said.

Elmore says it is illegal to brand animals in South Carolina.

"You can paint numbers on to an animal that's hunting. But, you can't brand an animal. That's just cruelty," Elmore said.

Horrific as it is, Husenitza found the dog's recovery as a way to lend a hand and help heal his own heart.

"A month ago, I lost my dog after 13 years and I just was waiting for the right time. I didn't actually go to the PetSmart to look at dogs. I actually had the grieving period," said Husenitza.

With time came the perfect solution. So, Husenitza said he picked up a treat for his potential new friend.

"I actually stopped by the store and picked up a Slim Jim," said Husenitza. "Went there and right away he went right to my back pocket and knew where that Slim Jim was."

Husenitza says it was love at first sight and he knew he had to help.

"His ribs were actually showing through where the brown is on both sides, which you really can't tell in the pictures," said Husenitza.

From his friend's home, Husenitza took the dog to an emergency veterinary clinic. After being treated, the dog was transferred to CAS.

"I would like to find out who did this and have them arrested for that and come up with a conviction for that. And, make sure that he doesn't do that again to dogs," Husenitza said.

Husenitza has set up a $500 reward for anyone with information that leads to an arrest. You can call Charleston Animal Society with information at 747-4849.

The pup's new name? Husenitza says he will call his new pup, "Lucky 300."

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