Published March 23, 2011
A New Jersey pit bull found starving and barely alive inside an apartment building garbage chute is being called by animal care workers one of the worst cases of cruelty they've ever seen.
The case of Patrick the pit bull has inspired donations from strangers as far away as Europe who want to help care for the animal found so brutalized his bones protruded from his fur and he had no body temperature.
Maintenance workers pulling garbage out of a chute and into a compactor at a Newark apartment complex found the dog March 16 when they noticed one of the bags moving.
Newark Animal Control was called to the Garden Spires apartment building -- a 550-unit complex notorious for drug trade -- and found the dog severely dehydrated and near death, a spokesperson for the Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park told FoxNews.com.
"It was absolutely horrendous," said Karen Powell, an AHS spokeswoman. "I have seen a lot in my career but this put me over the edge."
Powell said the pit bull mix, believed to be 1 to 2 years old, was transported to the 24-hour Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, N.J., where staff pumped him with fluids and covered him with heating blankets.
The dog was later named "Patrick" because he made it through the night and into St. Patrick's Day.
"It was a rebirth," Powell said, adding that the animal is improving every day and "loves people."
"It's going to take months, but we're cautiously optimistic that he's going to make it," Powell said. "He's eating on his own and standing up now."
Donations from as far away as Germany, Italy and England are pouring in to help the animal.
The New Jersey ASPCA, meanwhile, is investigating the crime and searching for a suspect in the case. It's not known yet whether the Newark Police Department is assisting with the investigation. A $2,000 reward is being offered for any information on the crime.
"There are definitely some leads," Powell said. "We're going to get this person."