BROOKSVILLE (FOX 13) - Heartbreaking cases of animal abuse and neglect are happening every day, all throughout our communities.
A Florida group dedicated to saving dogs' lives has an important message after rescuing three different dogs, all in extremely bad shape.
In the worst shape is a dog named Kato. Lying flat on the floor of his kennel, you can see his bones sticking out. His skull is frighteningly clear.
The 34-pound dog, which should weigh about 90 pounds, can barely stand more than a few seconds. He's so sick, he can't even swallow food.
"We've never seen anything like that before," said Kelli Tully of Pure Hearts Rescue. "He can only take a couple steps. And, just his eyes, sometimes, they are really alive and other times, it's just such sadness in his eyes."
Kato is one of three medical dogs that Pure Hearts Rescue picked up from Hernando County Animal Services last Thursday alone.
"Kato was an owner surrender," said Haley Kazee of Pure Hearts. "They basically didn't know what was going on. Believe it or not. They waited until he was literally at death's door."
Another dog named "Maverick," they're told, was the victim of a dog attack.
"One leg was almost completely severed and the other one was damaged," said Tully. "It was determined that we needed to do emergency surgery and amputate the leg."
And, a dog named Chichi was only 17 pounds when she was rescued.
"She was a suspected fighting dog," said Kazee. "Permanent head tilt and neurological damage from abuse and nerve damage causing the goop in her eye."
Chichi's owner Deandre Goodson was arrested in December for animal cruelty. The dog was so hungry, Goodson to investigators she gave birth two puppies and ate them.
"A lot of people don't know how these dogs live when I tell these stories. They are completely shocked," Tully.
These stories aren't simply intended to make people sad or sick. Pure Hearts wants to spread awareness that these crimes against innocent animals are happening daily in Tampa Bay. If you suspect abuse, it's everyone's responsibility to speak up so animals like Maverick can have a second chance.
"Now, he is wagging his tail and walking, wants to go outside," Tully said. "It's amazing how tolerant and resistant they are to pain. He's a happy boy now."
People are stepping up. Monday night, in just about two hours, people donated more than $2,500 online to help pay for surgery that'll help Kato eat again. It's extremely risky, but it's his only chance to live somewhat of a normal life.
He'll never be adopted out, but once Chichi and Maverick get back to health, Pure Hearts hopes to find them forever homes.