Vinny the pitbull-2_web
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Abused pit bull recovers locally after roadside rescue

After being left for dead on the side of the road, Vinny the pit bull is now recovering at South Suburban Humane Society’s Chicago Heights shelter.

Vinny the pitbull, who was discovered in a plastic trash bag in Willow Springs, is now recovering at the South Suburban Humane Society. (Provided photo)

According to a press release, Cook County Animal and Rabies Control discovered the cold and dehydrated dog on Monday, in a double-bagged trash bag along the side of 87th Street in Willow Springs.

“Thankfully, he went to a veterinary hospital first where they brought up his body temperature and gave him fluids,” said Emily Klehm, CEO of South Suburban Humane Society.

Since arriving at SSHS, Vinny has undergone X-rays and comprehensive blood screening, which showed he had abnormal kidney values. Vinny is now receiving medication for that condition, and the emaciated dog is also on a prescription diet.


“He wouldn’t eat the first day he came to us, so the staff boiled chicken (for him), which he happily consumed,” Klehm said via email Friday.

There are no clues about what specifically happened to Vinny, who was named by shelter staff. He wasn’t wearing tags or a microchip, and no one has come forward with information about the dog’s situation.

As he recovers, Klehm said staff members are giving Vinny the time and space he needs to regain trust in humans.

“Yesterday, he came close to letting us pet him,” Klehm said. “Dogs are resilient and magical creatures who are the very definition of love and forgiveness. He’s already made great strides since Tuesday, and he continues to make progress every day.”

Over the last month, SSHS has seen an atypical increase in the number of mistreated dogs it has received, Klehm said. 

In addition to Vinny, the agency recently took in four other dogs removed by Cook County control staff from what Klehm called “horrible conditions.”

Three of the dogs were removed in Markham from their owner who Klehm said was arrested for animal cruelty. On Thursday, SSHS took in a severely emaciated dog who was abandoned in a house by its owners when they moved out.

“We do not see true abuse and neglect regularly, so having quite a few in a short amount of time is especially upsetting,” Klehm said.

After Vinny’s medical issues are under control, he will be placed with a foster family to regain his strength and confidence. Once he’s ready for a “forever home,” he’ll be available for adoption.

Anyone with information about Vinny’s case can contact the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Special Operations Unit at (708) 865-4700.

People who wish to report suspected animal abuse can call their local police department with information, including the address where the animal is located, a description of it and the exact nature of the complaint.

“Only law enforcement are authorized to seize an animal in a neglectful situation,” Klehm said. “If you see something, you should definitely say something. We are their voice.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the shelter location where Vinny is staying. He is at the South Suburban Humane Society Chicago Heights shelter. The Chronicle regrets the error.

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