When violence goes up in the city, veterinarians also have more emergency work.
One local animal hospital has had a significant amount of dogs that come in with gun shots.
And those shootings, along with uncontrolled breeding, have caused a high number of animals in need of homes.
At the end of April in the Central City area, New Orleans Police were called to another senseless shooting of a woman. In that same moment, another family learned its dog had been shot by the same gunman.
"He was very critical when he first came in,” said Dr. Rose Lemarie, head surgeon and owner of Southeast Veterinary Specialists. “He was recumbent. He could lift his head but he was clearly bleeding out. He was brought in with a lot of blood loss.”
For five days Spartacus, the blue-eyed, white, young male pit bull stayed on an IV of morphine and other pain killers. He received blood transfusions.
And his elbow was shattered with the bullet lodged inside. It needed to be amputated but the family could not afford the medical bill.
So the Sula Foundation, a pit bull advocacy and rescue group, stepped in.
"We raised the money over the weekend from all around the country people made donations,” said Ken Foster, the president and founder of Sula. “It's pretty amazing,"
But the family did not want Spartacus neutered during the amputation surgery as Sula and the Louisiana SPCA did.
"When the dog was at the clinic and the family knew what it was going to cost to do the surgery, of course we require that people spay or neuter their pets or have an intact permit and they weren't in a financial position to do either,” said Ana Zorrilla, the CEO of the Louisiana SPCA. “And so we worked with them to have them sign the dog over and that way the Sula Foundation could take ownership of the dog and find him a new home."
The family wanted the dog for breeding, a huge problem in the New Orleans area according to the SPCA. Well-tempered, pure-bred, homeless pit bulls take up a majority of the kennels in the Louisiana SPCA's adoption room.
Puppies, adolescents and young adults, all in good health, fill the cages. They will never all find homes and some will be euthanized.
That's the case with Spartacus today. He is in a temporary foster home. Sula paid for his amputation. He had rehab and healing time at Belladoggie day care.
They got him to a foster home and are now hoping for a permanent adoption.
At Southeast Veterinary Hospital, they said they see a significant amount of dogs come in with gunshot wounds.
In fact Ricochet was found by a Good Samaritan, shot in the buttocks and on the side of the road in New Orleans East and was brought in. She still lives at the hospital today, five months later, looking for a home.
The hospital sees many pit bulls shot, but sees many other breeds shot as well. The veterinarians said Spartacus will make a good, healthy pet.
"They do very well with three legs,” Lemarie said. “A four-legged dog with a leg that's painful is not good and a three-legged dog that is not in pain can function well.”
"He's a total sweetheart and he's been playing with other dogs, playing with everybody who visits him,” Foster said. “He just loves everybody.”
Vets said pit bulls do well as family pets. It's best if they are not with cats or small dogs, since they can see them as toys and cause serious injury.
The SPCA is reminding the community, especially this summer, that mating dogs is not a good money-making idea.
"It's very expensive to breed dogs” Zorrilla said. “You do have a lot of veterinary care required before the puppies are even born and then once they're born, there's a lot of veterinary care that needs to be provided and most people that are breeding for the first time don't think about all of those costs.”
If you would like to adopt any of the dogs you saw in the story, go to the links here:
The Sula Foundation:
The Louisiana SPCA:
Southeast Veterinary Specialists: