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Abandoned dog found in Niles apartment

Niles, IL police are looking for the owner of a dog that was allegedly abandoned and left to starve inside a vacant apartment.

The dog, described as a westiepoo mix, was discovered on Feb. 22 inside an apartment on the 9000 block of Terrace Drive, north of Golf and Dee roads, after a maintenance worker received an anonymous tip through the building’s hotline that an animal had been left unattended, Niles police said.

Though malnourished and suffering from infected eyes and skin lesions, the dog, who is being called Bruno, is recovering at an area animal hospital, said Niles Police Sgt. Robert Tornabene.

“He’s still being cared for, but he is starting to bounce back,” Tornabene said. “He is very friendly and at this point he’s expected to recover.”

According to police, the maintenance worker found the apartment’s door ajar and a very stress dog barking inside the feces and urine covered residence. The animal did not appear to have food or water and had what the worker described as “mushrooms” growing from its eye area, police said.

The man told police he removed the obstruction from the animal’s eyes by rubbing warm water on its face.

Police noted that a bag of dog food had been left on a counter top, but the dog would have been unable to reach it.

According to police, several eviction notices had been mailed to the tenant, a 40-year-old man, and he had until December 31, 2013 to vacant the apartment.

How long the dog was left without food or water is not entirely known, Tornabene said. He did say that when found, the dog weighed only 8 pounds, though a normal weight would be closer to 25 pounds.

Investigators are still searching for the last occupants of the apartment to determine whom the dog belonged, Tornabene said.

“There were multiple people living there,” he said.

If identified, the owner could, at the very least, face charges of animal neglect, Tornabene said.

A technician at the hospital where the dog has been recovering has expressed interest in adopting Bruno, according to Tornabene.

Niles Animal Control Officer Peter Babikan also said Bruno’s condition is improving.

“The dog is doing much better now that he has received medical attention and is eating on a regular basis,” he said.