MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (KABC) -- After Rocky's leg became entangled, the German Shepherd chewed off part of his own foot to free himself. The 11-month-old now has a lot of pep in his three-legged step. The German Shepherd underwent surgery on Wednesday.
"We saw exposed bone, exposed muscle, the infection that started to set in," said veterinarian Maria Bromme.
She had to amputate Rocky's right hind leg.
"He came in walking, and then we took off the bandage and it really was a pretty gruesome sight, definitely took my breath away," Bromme said. "It was really heartbreaking to see."
Rocky's owner surrendered him on Sunday to the Orange County Animal Shelter.
The shelter contacted Tiffany Norton, of Coastal German Shepherd Rescue, to come to Rocky's rescue. She brought him to the Alicia Pet Care Center for treatment.
"It was likely a situation where he became entangled in a rope or chain that basically cut off the circulation on his foot, and he chewed his foot to free himself," Norton said.
Norton says Rocky's owner told the shelter it was unknown why he bit off his foot. Orange County Animal Control is now investigating. It's against state law to chain or tether a dog to a stationary object.
Rocky will have to wear a cone around his neck for the next two weeks. That's how long it will take for his stitches to be absorbed. He not only had his leg amputated, but he also had a hernia repaired and he was neutered.
Rocky is on medication to ease the pain, but the energetic German Shepherd is already adjusting to having one hind leg instead of two.
"I think for humans a lot of times we have a big emotional attachment to things like that, but for an animal, you know, they are just quick to adapt and get on with it, and he's doing great," Bromme said.
Rocky will be in foster care for at least two weeks. Coastal German Shepherd Rescue hopes to find a loving family that will welcome Rocky into their home.
Coastal German Shepherd Rescue is paying for Rocky's surgery and rehabilitation. For more information on how to help Rocky, visit http://coastalgsr.org.