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Pit bull puppy found muzzled and with broken legs now recovering in Ore.

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On Saturday, Dec. 7, KOMO 4 News reported that a good Samaritan found a pit bull puppy whose mouth was bound in freezing temperatures in Gresham, Oregon.

The puppy, now called "Pluto" by handlers at Multnomah County Animal Services, was found by Nestor Salazar on Wednesday, Dec. 4. The pit bull, only three or four months of age, was out in the park where Salazar was walking his own pit bull, Goofy.

Salazar's dog led him to the puppy, who was in a large shoe box and left to die six feet down in a ditch on a creek bank.

"It was awful. No dog should ever have to be treated like that," said Salazar.

"He was covered in feces and urine and a dirty, thin blanket that barely even covered him,” Salazar said.

The pit bull puppy's front legs were broken at the elbows. A piece of wire was wrapped tightly around his muzzle.

"I realized that thing was on him pretty hard because it basically squeezed his mouth inward,” Salazar said.

Salazar took the young dog home that night. He cut off the wire, bathed and fed the puppy, and let the young dog receive some TLC from his daughters. He took the puppy to the Multnomah County Animal Shelter the following morning.

Shelter workers took the puppy to a local veterinarian’s office for surgery to repair his broken legs. Pluto will stay in a medical foster home for six weeks to recover and he will then be available for adoption.

"A difficult recovery if you're a three-month-old puppy with two broken front legs," said shelter manager Mike Oswald.

"This is a crime in Oregon, animal abuse."

In Oregon, animal abuse in the first degree is defined as:

(1) A person commits the crime of animal abuse in the first degree if, except as otherwise authorized by law, the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly:

(a) Causes serious physical injury to an animal; or

(b) Cruelly causes the death of an animal.

(2) Any practice of good animal husbandry is not a violation of this section.

(3) Animal abuse in the first degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

(4) Animal abuse in the first degree is a Class C felony if:

(a) The person committing the animal abuse has previously been convicted of two or more of the following offenses:

(A) Any offense under ORS 163.160 (Assault in the fourth degree), 163.165 (Assault in the third degree), 163.175 (Assault in the second degree), 163.185 (Assault in the first degree) or 163.187 (Strangulation) or the equivalent laws of another jurisdiction, if the offense involved domestic violence as defined in ORS 135.230 (Definitions for ORS 135.230 to 135.290) or the offense was committed against a minor child; or

(B) Any offense under this section or ORS 167.322 (Aggravated animal abuse in the first degree), or the equivalent laws of another jurisdiction; or

(b) The person knowingly commits the animal abuse in the immediate presence of a minor child. For purposes of this paragraph, a minor child is in the immediate presence of animal abuse if the abuse is seen or directly perceived in any other manner by the minor child. [1985 c.662 §3; 2001 c.926 §8; 2003 c.577 §8]

On average, there are 900 cases of animal abuse in Multnomah County annually. Most cases involve inadequate living conditions or failing to feed animals, but this is the second recent "extreme" dog abuse case in the area.

On Nov. 24, two girls found a muzzled Shih Tzu puppy in North Portland. The little dog's muzzle was bound with a rubber band and he had blood on his chest and mouth.

Investigators are looking in to both cases and the authorities are relying upon tips from the public to solve these cases.

According to Oswald, Pluto's outlook is bright: If his original guardians aren't found, Salazar plans to adopt him.

"As soon as he's available, I'd like to turn it into a Cinderella story and keep him myself,” said Salazar.

Do you have information about either of these animal cruelty cases? Please contact the authorities to help solve these crimes.

Officer Michelle Luckey can be reached at (503) 988 6238. Officer Jenny Kimmons can be reached at (503) 201 0067.

To learn more about the Multnomah County Animal Services and how to support their life-saving efforts, click here.

Updates to this story will be posted as they occur.

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