SPCA officers said pit bull Venom, pictured, was emaciated with his spine and ribs protruding from his body and needed immediate medical care when he was rescued. *Photo supplied
SPCA officers said pit bull Venom, pictured, was emaciated with his spine and ribs protruding from his body and needed immediate medical care when he was rescued. *Photo supplied
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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22: A neglected dog that was rescued by the SPCA has died, the charity announced today.

Venom the pit bull had been lovingly cared for at the SPCA shelter in Paget since he was rescued from outside a property in Warwick in January 2011.

He collapsed in April, this year, and was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition.

SPCA staff continued to care for the friendly hound but he developed serious intestinal problems recently and was put to sleep on veterinary advice earlier this summer.

A spokesman for the charity said: "Venom had suffered much in his life, as was evidenced by the large number of scars and old injuries clearly sustained as a result of dog fights.

"We vowed that this abused dog would never again be chained up and neglected."

At the time he was seized by SPCA staff Venom was malnourished, tied up with a heavy metal chain and unlicensed.

He was rushed to the vet for live saving treatment and had remained at the shelter ever since.

An SPCA spokesman said: "In January 2011 SPCA Animal Welfare Officer Debbie Masters responded to an emergency call and found Venom, unlicensed and tied up in an appalling state, at a property in Warwick.

"He weighed only 41lbs and looked like a walking skeleton.

"He was seized and taken for urgent veterinary treatment and remained in the care of the SPCA.

"Whilst at the shelter he rapidly put on weight until he reached a healthy, normal weight of 58lbs."

Venom became a popular chracter with shelter staff and visitors during the year and a half he spent there.

The spokesman said:"During his time at the shelter Venom was a firm favorite with staff and dog walkers alike and loved nothing more than to roll around on his back in the long grass and have his tummy rubbed.

"Venom had his own kennel where he could wander outdoors within his fenced run, keeping an eye on the staff coming and going to the various departments and making sure no-one was talking to the shelter cats when they could be chatting to him instead.

"Whenever the SPCA trucks came back into the yard he was always first out of his kennel to see what other animals were coming into the SPCA and his intelligent eyes missed nothing."

Kurt Dowling, 30, was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to Venom and appeared at Magistrates' Court earlier this year.

However he was cleared of any wrong doing after trial as prosecutors were unable to prove he was the owner of the dog at the time when Venom was neglected.

Mr Dowling had always denied the charges.

The SPCA spokesman added: "Venom is now back at the SPCA for good.

"He is buried overlooking the shelter and the SPCA plans to raise funds for a bench and a plaque as a memorial not only to Venom but all the animals like him that are abused and neglected, and the people like Debbie Masters who dedicate their lives to protecting them."