Dog in O.C. found with ears cut off

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. One look at Phoenix lets one know that the dog has endured a lot of pain. He was found on the streets of /*Downey*/. His ears had been chopped off, and his face and body were full of battle scars.

Rescuers said the dog had marks on his face that were consistent with either a wire or duct tape. One /*veterinarian*/ said Phoenix had a skin infection, an ear infection and he was "just a beaten-down, sad dog."

After being taken to a shelter, Phoenix was scheduled to be euthanized, but Coastal German Shepherd Rescue stepped in, and now he's getting much needed medical care.

Phoenix appears to have been used as a bait dog in a /*dog-fighting ring*/.

"They cut off the ears, I would imagine, to minimize their problems going forward with wound care, so that they won't have to take care of cuts on the ears," said veterinarian Dr. Matthew Wheaton. "So you have a dog that's treated as trash, basically. They are often discarded in L.A., I hear. These dogs are basically just used to increase the skill of the fighting dog."

The loss of his ears has not affected Phoenix's hearing. Wheaton said the dog is well on his way to becoming a healthy dog.

"I would imagine in about two months, he'll put on about 15 to 20 pounds and look like a happy dog whose got a new lease on life," said Wheaton.

Phoenix is a sweet and mellow dog. Anyone interested in contributing to his medical care or interested in adopting him should contact /*Coastal German Shepherd Rescue*/ at (714) 528-4730.

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