Puppy found with cut off ears adopted

SAN DIEGO - One of four mutilated and malnourished puppies discovered in a Chula Vista trash bin three months ago has been adopted, the Helen Woodward Animal Center announced Thursday.

Pongo, a spaniel blend that had his ears cut off, went home with Colleen Lanin and Phil Grossfield and their two children Wednesday, according to the center. The family has previously adopted a rescue dog and rescue cat.

Pongo's wounds have healed, and he no longer requires specialized veterinary care, according to the center. The three others have not been medically cleared to be adopted.

Lizbeth Luna, of Animal Advocates of the United States -- which partners with the center in Rancho Santa Fe -- said last week that she's never seen a case like this one in her seven years in animal rescue.

She said a friend heard cries as she walked past the dumpster. The four puppies -- estimated to be less than 5 weeks old -- were in a closed box, she said.

The ears might have been cut off by an inexperienced breeder who thought the practice, called "cropping," would make the puppies more attractive to prospective buyers, Luna said.

The procedure is rarely performed on spaniels, she said.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the person who mutilated the puppies, according to the center. People with information should contact Rita Truderung, the center's vice president of operations, at 858-756-4117, ext. 303, or via email ritat@animalcenter.org.

Information about adopting animals is available at the center's Adoptions Department at 858-756-4117, ext. 1.

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