SAVAGE, Minn. (KARE) - A brutal attack of on a family's pet pit bull has puzzled authorities in this Twin Cities suburb, and left the dog's owner wondering.
"Who? Why? What's the point?" Robert Cole told KARE Thursday, as his four-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier named Cesar limped around the back with his hind legs bandaged.
Cole's fiance, Amber Wade, called him in panic Wednesday to tell him Cesar and their two other dogs had vanished from the back yard in Savage. The gate had been pushed open, and a wooden block designed to keep the smaller dog from escaping had been pushed by several feet.
The dogs resurfaced 15 minutes later in the couple's front driveway. Cesar was bleeding profusely from his legs. At trail of bloody paw prints leg from the driveway into the corner of the garage, where Cesar took refuge.
Cole, a dog behavior trainer, had been out with a client at the time Amber alerted him. He returned to find deep slash wounds in both of Cesar's hind legs. Cole's father noticed something written in a green marker on Cesar's back.
It read, "Back off, Bob."
Cole says he can't think of anyone who would be mad enough at him to harm Cesar, who is four-years-old
"For some reason, whether it's prejudice towards pit bulls or somebody that's actually trying to say, 'Hey hey, ha ha, take that'!"
The other two dogs, a Black Labrador and a Chihuahua mix, were unharmed.
Midwest Animal Rescue & Services (MARS) reported the incident on its Facebook page, and Savage police and Animal Control confirm they are investigating.
Cesar is a familiar face at the Brooklyn Park non-profit foster-based rescue center. His calming presence has helped nervous foster dogs relax and learn to trust humans.
Joan Tabak, a spokesperson for MARS, said she believes Cesar was targeted because he is a pit bull.
"They're not dangerous animals," Tabak said. "And when people target these animals, this is what happens. It instills hate."
The staff at MARS encouraged Cole to bring Cesar into the agency's affiliated veterinary clinic, and told him not to worry about the medical bill.
Cole said that Cesar's vital signs -- his pulse and body temperature -- fluctuated greatly until the doctor go the dog's body stabilized. Cesar was then sent to an animal hospital for x-rays to check for broken bones.
MARS issued a statement on its Facebook page. It reads:
MARS is taking a stand in this situation because we personally know Cesar and his standing as an ambassador for his breed. He is a pit bull. We have worked directly with him and he has assisted us in rehabilitating dogs. We want to highlight this tragedy and the atrocity of what a human can do to an animal so it does not happen again. He is not a savage as a pit bull is portrayed so often in the media. However, how this breed has been portrayed in the media perpetrates what was done to him simply because of his breed.
A spokesman for the Savage Police says investigators are following leads and are making good progress in finding the suspects responsible.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Savage Police at 952-882-2600.