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Police search for man who threw pit bull puppy in Charlotte pond

Group finds home for abused pit bull puppy, which has suffered multiple fractures and spinal injury

By Elisabeth Arriero

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Police are searching for a man who witnesses said threw a puppy into a Charlotte area pond last week and left it for dead.

Matthew Schmidt, who lives off Nevin Road, said he was making dinner shortly after 6:30 p.m. Thursday when he noticed a car pull up beside the pond behind his house.

“In order to help protect the pond, I try to chase out anyone who’s out there that’s not supposed to be,” he said. “This guy drew my attention anyways because he was acting so strange.”

Schmidt went outside to confront the driver, taking with him his two rescued pit bulls.

Just as he was about 50 feet from the fence separating him from the man, Schmidt said he heard a loud splash.

“It scared me,” he said. “I shouted, ‘What ... are you throwing in the pond?’ and he didn’t respond. He gave me the most blank stare, and then he just left.”

Soon, Schmidt said, he heard splashing and something struggling to get out of the pond. That’s when he saw the puppy trying to get out of the water.

He used a bit of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich he was holding to coax the puppy to him.

“She was very friendly, very docile. But it was like she was saying, ‘Please, come help me,’ ” Schmidt said. “She was really bad off.”

An examination later revealed the dog, an American pit bull terrier mix, had a fractured leg and a fractured pelvis from a recent incident. But the puppy also had a fractured skull and a spinal injury from past incidents, as well.

“She has quite a few injuries that shows she’s had successive incidents of trauma,” said Sara Enos, founder of the American Pit Bull Foundation, which found a home for the puppy. Enos said the dog’s front leg will need to be amputated.

“We’re going to get her the care she needs and help her progress in the healing process,” Enos said.

Schmidt said he couldn’t imagine somebody treating a dog so poorly.

“I love my dogs. I feed them, I give them baths, I let them hang out in the house,” he said. “I can’t imagine someone doing something like this.”

He described the man who attempted to drown the puppy as a skinny black male between 6 feet 2 and 6 feet 5.

Schmidt estimated the man’s weight at no more than 170 pounds. He was wearing a black baseball cap with thin dreadlocks underneath at the time. He had no facial hair.

He said the suspect was driving a light-colored, four-door sedan, possibly a BMW or a Mercedes. It had no plates on it but it did have a paper tag from a dealership with a red circular emblem in the center.

“Police are looking for him and making a pretty valiant effort to find him,” Enos said.

On Sunday afternoon, after Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control lifted its 72-hour hold on the puppy, Enos took her to her new foster home.

The new puppy also got a new name: Lotus, after the flower that rises up from muddy waters and becomes a beautiful blossom.

“We thought it was fitting for her,” Enos said. “She rose above this traumatic incident, and she made it.”

Arriero: 704-804-2637 Twitter: @earriero
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