German Shepherd Chews Off His Foot to Escape From Chain

DEC. 19, 2014 UPDATE: Rocky has a loving new forever home and an appropriate new name!

dog chews off own foot to escape from chainWhen the owners of Rocky, an 11-month-old German Shepherd, dumped him at OC Animal Care in Orange County, Calif., earlier this week, they said they had no idea why their dog had chewed off half of his own rear right foot.

The shelter notified Tiffany Norton of Coastal German Shepherd Rescue O.C., who immediately took Rocky to Alicia Pet Care Center in Mission Viejo 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 told KABC.

Veterinarian Matthew Wheaton agreed with Norton’s assessment.

“He was likely tied to a pole, stake or tree via a long chain and got his back foot tangled in the chain, which cut off blood supply to the foot,” he told the Orange County Register.

“Chewing off a part of the body that is devitalized is likely a highly evolved trait,” he said. “The only dogs that would survive an issue like this would be those that would take to drastic measures to escape what they were tangled in.”

In 2007, California became the first state to enact a law that limits the chaining or tethering of dogs. Since then, 18 additional states have enacted similar laws.

rocky dog chewed off rear footAs the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) points out, tethering dogs is both inhumane and dangerous.

“An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious and often aggressive,” notes the HSUS. “Dogs have even been found with collars embedded in their necks, the result of years of neglect at the end of a chain.”

According to California’s Health and Safety Code, dogs are not to be tethered for more than three hours during a 24-hour period or other time period approved by animal control.

“I have managed a handful of cases over the years of trauma secondary to tethering or chaining a dog,” Wheaton told the OC Register. “It’s sad and frustrating because it is so avoidable.”

Ryan Drabek, director of OC Animal Care, said animal control is investigating the case.

Rocky’s injury was gruesome. “It definitely took my breath away,” veterinarian Maria Bromme told KABC. “It was really heartbreaking to see. We saw exposed bone, exposed muscle, the infection that started to set in.”

The young pup’s entire leg had to be amputated.

He’s now recuperating, and has already adjusted to having only three legs. He will stay with a foster family for two weeks, and then be available for adoption into a loving forever home.

Coastal German Shepherd Rescue O.C. is covering the cost of Rocky’s surgery and medical treatment.

Photos via Facebook

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!