Michigan Dog Who Chewed Off Her Leg to Escape Neglect Is Searching for Dedicated Support

Saginaw County Animal Care and Control of Michigan saved Bella the dog — who they found abandoned and painfully tethered in a backyard — and is looking for a rescue to treat the pet's trauma

bella the dog
Photo: Animal Control Officers Desi Sage & Abbe Balderstone

Bella is a beautiful dog with a loving demeanor who recently escaped an ugly past.

In August, a concerned citizen stopped a mail carrier on their route in Saginaw, Michigan, to report a dog in distress in a nearby backyard. The mail carrier went to check on the animal and discovered a gruesome scene.

They found Bella, without food or water, tangled in tethers and missing one of her back legs. The mail carrier called 911 for help freeing the dog, and rescuers from Saginaw County Animal Care and Control responded to the request.

Saginaw County Animal Care and Control helped carefully remove Bella from the tethers that had kept her trapped in place, surrounded by dirt and debris, for days. While releasing the 1-year-old dog, the details of Bella's situation became distressingly clear.

"She was intentionally placed and tethered there," Bonnie Kanicki, the director of Saginaw County Animal Care and Control, tells PEOPLE. "She was tied up in a position where she could not move and left behind."

bella the dog

Whoever tied up Bella did it so tightly that when the canine tried to escape on her own, the tethers wrapped around her legs and started cutting off circulation to her limbs. In distress, Bella at some point chewed off one of her back legs in an effort to free herself and was at risk of losing another when rescuers reached her.

Luckily, Saginaw County Animal Care and Control freed Bella and got her medical help in time to save the pooch's other limbs. Veterinarians also treated the dog's open wound from her self amputation, allowing the injury to heal fully.

Today, Bella's physical rehab is right on track, and Saginaw County Animal Care and Control is focused on the canine's mental health.

"This poor girl had to chew off her leg, but her personality is still so loving, even though can in here starving, abandoned, and neglected," Kanicki says.

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While Bella remains a loving and social canine, her traumatic past has affected her and some of her behaviors. To give the dog the best fresh start possible, Saginaw County Animal Care and Control is searching for a rescue that has experience helping dogs overcome trauma.

Once Bella has had the chance to work with canine trauma specialists, Saginaw County Animal Care and Control is hopeful the dog will find a forever family. Bella is not adoptable at this time.

Bella has garnered quite a fanbase while starting her next chapter. Numerous animal lovers have donated to Bella's care, helping cover the canine's numerous medical bills.

"She landed in this situation through no fault of her own," Kanicki says. "She has gone from the horrors to the joy of people. There are so many now that have a heart for her. "

Saginaw County Animal Care and Control is diligently working on getting justice for Bella and will report the findings from their cruelty investigation to the Saginaw County Prosecutor's Office, according to Kanicki.

Those who know a trauma specialist that could help Bella on her path forward to a better life are asked to contact Saginaw County Animal Care and Control at scacc@saginawcounty.com or 989-797-4500.

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