When animal control officers found the pit bull in Matthews, he was malnourished and probably wouldn’t have lived another 24 hours. Today, Echo has a new home.
After nearly a month of regaining health, Echo went home Tuesday with the animal control officer who helped rescue him.
The dog, who his owner estimates is between 2 and 5 years old, has gained 29.5 pounds since he was saved by officials, who suspect he was involved in dog fighting. He has spent the past month being treated for numerous medical issues.
Jeremy Schnabel, the Matthews animal control officer who adopted Echo, said the dog is completely calm and friendly with people and animals.
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“This dog will love you unconditionally,” Schnabel said.
A neighbor called authorities when she saw Echo laying on Lakeview Circle, off Sam Newell Road. Schnabel said when he helped pick the dog up he also cared for his injuries, like removing maggots from him.
“A lot of people say, ‘I could never do the job you do,’” he said. “That was one of the days where I agreed with them.
“Being able to get this out of him, to nurse him back to health, to be able to take him and show ... to the public, this is what a good dog can do. That’s when it becomes the good part of the job.”
Without medical help, the dog wouldn’t have survived the next 24 hours, Schnabel said.
Echo was treated by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control for immediate health concerns. He had maggots, fleas, open wounds and scarring on his body.
Then S.A.F.E. Animal Haven, a volunteer foster home system, took care of the pit bull while he was further treated by vets with a blood transfusion, antibiotics and special food and vitamins.
Schnabel said he already owns a dog and cat, hitting the maximum of two pets his family had decided on. But when he expressed interest in adopting Echo to his wife, she agreed immediately.
Officials suspect Echo was a bait dog, a submissive dog used to train a prize fighting dog, due to his fighting scars and injuries and his filed-down teeth. They haven’t been able to find any clues leading to his abuser.
Echo still has some health problems to address, including his teeth, skin conditions and neutering. Donors have sent in $2,000 for his health treatment in the mail and on a GoFundMe page, but his medical bills have already cost about $1,400, Schnabel said. Donations can still be sent online and in the mail.
“It’s extremely satisfying for me not only to adopt him and let him live out his life as happy as possible, but it’s a great lesson for my children,” he said.
Bacon: 704-358-5725; Twitter: @erindbacon
The Humane Society of the U.S. offers up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction over dog fighting, Schnabel said. Anyone with information can call the Matthews Police Department at 704-847-5555 or the Humane Society at 877-TIP-HSUS (847-4787).