Authorities in New Mexico are investigating after local residents discovered a pit bull with a 60-pound-chain and several padlocks wrapped around its neck, a galling case of abuse that animal control officials believe may have been perpetrated for a far darker purpose.
The pit bull was found in Albuquerque, near the 1600 block of Lake Drive SW, according to KOAT. When the unfortunate animal was discovered, the massive chain was wrapped around its neck, fastened in place with several large and heavy padlocks. According to Mary Martin, director of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, though chains are used for several purposes when it comes to dogs, the way in which this one was affixed to the animal spoke volumes about the owner's intent.
"People were using the chain as weight to build the dog's muscles," she said. "They want a very powerful dog, either potentially for fighting purposes or sometimes just to have that look."
Dog found wearing 60-lb. chain, padlocks http://t.co/Jr0Q1jDUoa pic.twitter.com/DucbWtLFNtWhether the owners were attempting to strengthen the pit bull for cosmetic or more vicious reasons, Martin asserted that the animal's treatment constituted a clear case of abuse. Johnny Martinez, Santa Fe's Animal Services Supervisor, seconded her assessment of the situation.
— KOAT.com (@KOATLiveUpdates) March 9, 2015
"I definitely think they're training the dog just to bulk up, maybe for fighting reasons - or just for show," he said.
The discovery of the pit bull comes amid reports of a rising tide of dog thefts in Bernalillo County, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Officials have warned local homeowners to keep a close eye on their pets, after a sharp uptick in reports of missing dogs over the last two months. Authorities believe the stolen animals are being used for fighting, either as combatants or as bait for training.
Larry Gallegos, a spokesman for Animal Care Services, noted that the pit bull was found in good health, despite carrying the chain, which was roughly equivalent to its own body weight. The dog did not display any signs of injury from fighting, he noted, making it more difficult to asses the amount of abuse it had suffered.
Over the weekend, officials in Wheeling, West Virginia reported that a local resident died as a result of a pit bull attack while attempting to provide aid to a man suffering a cardiac event. As the Inquisitr previously reported, authorities are waiting for autopsy results before determining the sequence of events.
Police in Albuquerque have reached out to the local community, seeking help from anyone possessing information about the pit bull, or the owner who left it carrying the chain and padlocks.
[Image: KOAT-TV via the Albuquerque Journal]