Spike Captures the Hearts of Many
First, the scene made most New York City news viewers wince—then it made them downright furious. There, on the evening news, was footage of an enraged Queens woman, Maria Aguilar, brutally beating Spike, her 11-month-old English Bulldog puppy, on her porch. The puppy was howling in pain and fear. Sick of Aguilar’s constant abuse of the puppy, a Good Samaritan neighbor yelled at Aguilar to stop. When she didn’t, he made a video of her violence on his cell phone camera, thereby capturing undeniable visual evidence of what was a truly heartless act of animal cruelty.
The Good Samaritan and several other concerned citizens reported the horrific abuse to ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, who responded by racing to the home that Aguilar shares with her husband. At first, Aguilar denied abusing the puppy, but confessed to the crime after ASPCA investigators showed her the video evidence. Aguilar was arrested for aggravated animal cruelty.
Spike was rushed to the ASPCA, where Anti-Cruelty Veterinarian Dr. Rhonda Windham, MVB, treated him. “Spike had multiple injuries consistent with blunt force trauma,” she says. “He also had a number of old injuries, including a left femoral head fracture, a broken right elbow, three broken teeth and ear injuries. He will have progressive arthritis in his left hip and his right front elbow for the rest of his life.” Windham says that according to Spike’s medical records, another veterinarian had treated him at least a dozen times in the previous seven months, before he was rescued by the ASPCA. The most recent attack captured on the cell phone camera had left Spike nearly blind in his right eye.
During his period of recuperation, Spike became somewhat of a celebrity at the ASPCA, receiving personal letters, gifts and get-well cards from fans. Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Adoption Center, says that there were also hundreds of potential adopters for Spike. “This dog was so beloved by New Yorkers that we had to turn away many adopters. He had his pick of wonderful homes.” In the end, the ASPCA placed Spike in a household with an experienced pet parent familiar with caring for animals with special needs. Though she prefers to remain anonymous due to the case’s intense publicity, she is delighted by the addition of Spike to her family. Apparently, Spike's new pup-brother Petey is, too. "The two of them hit it off right away," she says. "They are always together and you can tell that their friendship has really helped Spike regain some of his confidence." Spike's physical condition has improved as well. "Spike will probably always have difficulty seeing and walking," explains his new pet parent. "But that doesn't stop him from getting around.”
Joseph Pentangelo, Assistant Director of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, says that while the outpouring of love for Spike was both deserved and gratifying, he would like Spike’s fans to recognize that there are countless other dogs awaiting adoption at shelters across the country. "There are so many other pets in shelters in dire need of homes," Pentangelo says. "People wanting to help should consider adoption." For more information on adopting a pet in need, please visit www.ASPCA.org/adoption.