He was a pit bull mix that was wounded and bleeding. Fortunately, the porch he chose belonged to Don and Carol Seketa.
"It looked like the dog had been beaten repeatedly," Carol said. "There were puncture wounds everywhere. He was starved and malnourished."
The dog they named Weiser responded to their kindness. "He let me drain the wounds in his neck. He knew I was helping him and he licked my nose," she explained.
She and her husband suspected the dog had been used as a bait dog and that somebody was training dogs to fight. When they took the animal to Veterinarian Dr. John Scamahorn, he confirmed their suspicions.
"The doctor told me the raw and worn spots on the dog's tail indicated it had lived in a crate almost continuously," Carol said. Damage to the neck and head, evidence of old wounds under new ones are signs that an animal has been attacked repeatedly by dogs being trained for combat.
Weiser may have escaped his keepers or they might have dumped him by the side of the road when they were through with him. Either way his luck changed when he made it to Seketa's porch. The family nursed him back to health and found a good home for him out in the country east of Greencastle.
Two dogs that have suffered the same abuse got lucky in January when they arrived at the Putnam County Humane Society. A 1- to 2-year-old pit bull mix named Princess was one of them.
"She had fresh red scars, old wounds, bloodshot eyes, neck and head injuries, and bites all over her back," said Less Solomayor, a Humane Society employee.
"We took her to the vet for her injuries and had her spayed," explained Lainie Settecasi, manager of the shelter. "Most of her teeth were broken off," she explained.
According to Animal Control Officer April Keck of Tippecanoe County, sometimes teeth are broken or removed from bait dogs so they can't do any damage to the dogs that attack them. Muzzles and duct tape do the same job.
"It spite of what Princess has been through, she has a wonderful disposition," Settecasi said. "She loves children, gets along with other dogs, doesn't mind being left alone, and at the humane society, she sleeps with the cats."
Going into the kennels is the only thing she can't handle. "She gets frightened and starts to shake," she said.
These few dogs are evidence that training animals for dog fights may be occurring in Putnam and surrounding counties. Endurance paraphernalia is one of the clues that training is taking place. In professional dog fights, animals might be in the pit for more than an hour before one of them is incapable of continuing. According to Animal Control Officer Keck, handlers use treadmills for conditioning. Another device for the same purpose is call a "jenny." It is a circular treadmill affair where the dog runs continuously with a small animal kept just out of reach in a cage. At the end of the training the dog gets the bunny or kitten as a reward.
Dogs trained for combat in the country are shipped to urban areas for the actual fights. That's where the money is," said Officer Keck.
Last year pro football player Michael Vick drew attention to the cruelty of dog fighting with his arrest and conviction. As a result Indiana State Sen. Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte) is sponsoring legislation that will increase penalties for it.
With no animal control officer in Putnam County, citizens who suspect that fight training is going on in their area should contact the local police at 653-5115 or state police at 653-4114 or the Sheriff's Department at 653-5115.