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By TOM SMITH
WAYNESBORO, Tenn. -- Police said it's likely a routine traffic stop may have saved the life of a pit bulldog believed to have been used for fighting.
Waynesboro Police Chief Keith Reeves said the dog was found early Sunday morning.
"He was in bad shape, very bad shape," Reeves said.
"A local veterinarian was called in to take care of the animal. He said the animal was lucky he was found when he was."
The chief said a Mississippi man has been charged with animal cruelty, a Class E felony punishable by one to six years in prison if convicted.
Reeves said officer Daniel Deas stopped Marcus Malone Boyd, 26, of Ripley, Miss., early Sunday traveling west on U.S. 64.
"When (Deas) approached the driver, (the driver) was acting very nervous," Reeves said. "Deas got permission to search the vehicle and when he opened the truck of the car, he found a small dog cage with a large pit bulldog stuffed inside it."
Reeves said the dog was covered in blood and had cuts and scratches all over its legs, body and head.
"Deas said blood was everywhere and the area inside the cage was so cramped that the dog couldn't stand up or even move very much," Reeves said. "Plus, there was no food or water, and with the trunk closed, there was no air circulating."
He said it was obvious the dog had been in a fight.
Reeves said that after the local veterinarian was called in, they found staples in one of the dogs legs where he had been cut before.
Reeves said the animal is still being housed with the local veterinarian and is doing okay.
The chief said Deas stopped Boyd because his tag light was out.
"We don't know for sure, but it's likely if it had not been for that, the dog may have died before he got back to Ripley," Reeves said. "The vet said the animal was very weak (from all the blood he had lost), and without help, he probably wouldn't have made it."
Boyd remains out of jail on bail totaling $2,500.
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