"I saw some markings and it looked like a spirograph or whatever on his belly. I thought...maybe it's ring worms or something. I ran in the house and got a razor and started shaving and said, 'You've got to be kidding me,'" said a ROMP Rescue volunteer who only wants to be identified as Randy.
Bold black letters were tattooed across Petey's belly, and not just any tattoo.
"I said, 'Oh my gosh, that looks like a gang name or something.' I looked it up online and sure enough, it was," said Randy.
Randy doesn't want his last name used for fear the gang members who once owned the dog may come back for him.
Liz, a good Samaritan, found the canine chained up and abandoned outside a Lomita doughnut shop. She took him to a vet, where he was treated for fleas, worms and an ear infection, but no one realized he was hiding another secret.
"I had everything taken care of. I gave him his shots," said Liz. "I did everything I could think of doing to help him."
Unable to keep the dog, she contacted ROMP Rescue, which helps save dogs and train them for new homes. Randy says he has never seen a dog with a tattoo, much less a gang tattoo. Luckily, Petey's hair will hide the permanent marking.
"I can't even imagine. It's not something that would ever cross my mind to tattoo a puppy like that, because I'm sure there was probably no sedation," said Randy.
Randy said Petey isn't quite ready for a new family. He needs some training and rehab and he's hoping other animal lovers will be able to make that happen.