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SPCA: Emaciated Puppy's Condition Improving

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – The 7-month-old malnourished puppy who was dropped off in a suitcase at the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter earlier this week is improving at the SPCA in Briarcliff Manor, but veterinarians are unsure if the dog will survive.

The emaciated pit bull/lab mix was found stuffed inside a suitcase with a note, said Ernest Lungaro, SPCA of Westchester ’s director of humane law enforcement. Lungaro said the puppy was weak and malnourished and was immediately rushed to the SPCA of Westchester’s Simpson Clinic.

Veterinarians said that the puppy would normally weigh 40 pounds but its actual weight is 16 pounds. While it wasn’t able to stand or eat when it was brought in on Wednesday, Lungaro said the puppy is gradually improving.

“When it first came in, you could see its spine and ribs and it was obvious that it was being starved to the point where it couldn’t sit up on its own. But it took its first steps today and it started eating,” Lungaro said. “It doesn’t have a very good immune system because it was malnourished and that’s the problem. It’s not going to be able to fight any infection. But we’re optimistic that it will improve.”

Lungaro said there is an ongoing investigation into identifying the person who dropped off the puppy at the shelter. He said shelter officials also found a note with the name “Emily” attached to the suitcase explaining the situation.

“The person stated that they found the dog in their backyard and they tried to feed it and it wouldn’t leave so they brought it to the shelter,” Lungaro said, adding that the note does not explain why the dog was dropped off in a suitcase. “When the dog was found, the suitcase was open so it’s possible it was transported in the open suitcase.”

Abandoning an animal is a misdemeanor, Lungaro said. The SPCA handles dozens of cases every year where someone drops off an animal and it’s rare that charges are filed.

“We’ll have to continue with the investigation to see if there will be charges but right now we’re focused on getting the animal healthy and trying to find who it was that dropped him off,” Lungaro said. “Unfortunately this kind of thing where someone drops off an animal that is unhealthy is fairly common.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Lungaro at the SPCA of Westchester ’s confidential animal cruelty hotline at (914) 941-7797.

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