Suspect Sought in Dog Starvation Case

County Animal Services is asking for the public’s help in identifying the owner of a dog found suffering from extreme starvation. A Good Samaritan saw the abused animal in the Logan Heights area on Dec. 6 and brought the dog to County Animal Services’ shelter on Gaines Street.

The dog’s ribs were visible and he had a very pronounced spine. Staff members say the dog is a cane corso that is about 5 years old. Normally, dogs of this breed and age would weigh more than 100 pounds. This dog came in weighing only 62.8 pounds.

“There is absolutely no excuse for this poor dog to be in such horrific condition,” said County Animal Services Director Dan DeSousa. “Blood tests show nothing out of the ordinary to explain why this dog is so emaciated. The only reason left is that someone starved this dog.”

The department uses a body condition scoring system when investigating cases of animal cruelty and neglect. On a scale of one to nine, a one would be extremely thin, a five would be normal weight and a nine is obese. Staff scored the dog 0.5 and feared he would not survive.

Now under the care of veterinary staff, the dog is gaining weight and currently tips the scale at 73.4 pounds. He’s been named Bruno and is described as extremely friendly.

bruno2But feeling better has brought on another issue for Bruno. He has a condition called “happy tail.” He’s wagged his tail so much that he has accidentally hit some hard objects and injured it. Bruno’s tail is bandaged for protection but veterinary staff may have to amputate it if the condition does not improve.

County Animal Services is looking into possible animal cruelty charges if the dog’s owner can be found. If convicted, the person could face up to three years in prison, a fine up to $20,000 or a combination of both. Anyone with information is asked to call the department at (619) 767-2740.

Bruno is still recovering but County Animal Services will begin taking applications for his adoption Friday. A special adoption application must be filled out and submitted to County Animal Services by the close of business on Wednesday, Dec. 2o. They can be dropped off at any of the three shelters or emailed to

Staff will evaluate applicants and select the top three candidates. They’ll be invited to meet Bruno and see how they get along. Veterinary staff will also talk with the potential adopters about the needs of the dog going forward. From there, the department will pick the best candidate to adopt the dog.

For general information about County Animal Services, call (619) 767-2675 or visit

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact