Animal cruelty investigators say a fight between a neighbor and a pit bull mix that left the dog in need of hundreds of stitches may be a case of self-defense.
“The investigation is revealing this is a case of self-defense by a person faced with a dog who was at-large and in attack mode,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release Monday evening.
The finding was made after LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force investigators spoke with several witnesses to the fight that took place about 4 a.m. Saturday near 10th and Florence avenues in South Los Angeles.
Top news of the day
The dog named Spartacus was hit in the head with a shovel and stabbed multiple times, rescuers said. He suffered wounds to his head and body.
The attacker is allegedly a neighbor who had threatened the dog in the past, police said. By the time officers arrived on scene, the attacker had fled.
Earlier Monday, police said an arrest was "imminent" in the case.
Spartacus left the veterinarian's office with his tail wagging, seemingly unphased by the horrific attack he endured.
"This is also a testament to how wonderful these breeds are," said Alex Kyrklund of the Pet Care Center. "Because this dog could have done damage to this person, but allowed this horrible abuse."
Caregivers said Spartacus was likely saved by his thick skin, which prevented deeper stab wounds.
Spartacus was expected to be reunited with his owners in a few weeks. Until then, he will recover in an undisclosed location as the investigation continues.