Couple saves dog likely injured in dog fighting

Anthony and Jessica Lugo were sitting at home the night of August 28th, when they heard a noise, and found a badly injured pit bull on the front porch of their Brookfield Road home.

They called Florence County Environmental Services and the Florence Area Humane Society and did their best to take care of him until officials arrived.

"My husband said don't mess with him, he might be mean. We watched him from the door for a minute to see how he would react to us tapping on the door. He didn't seem aggressive, so we put him a bowl of water out there for him," said Jessica Lugo.

"I'm thinking it came somewhere close by because as bad of shape as it was in, I don't think it could have traveled to very far," said Anthony Lugo. "Because it was, it looked like it was barely able to get around on the porch. Looked like at any moment's notice, looked like it was going to collapse."

The dog's nose had been ripped from his face. His body was loaded with parasites, and he had more than 100 wounds on his body.

The Lugos say he was scared and desperate for help.

"We're surprised he actually made it to our house as bad of condition as he was in," explained Jessica.

The Lugos set up a barricade so the dog wouldn't leave the porch, and they watched him during the night to make sure he was OK.

"I was glad to see him still there whenever we woke up. I went back outside and gave him some more water, gave him some food and just loved on him a little bit," said Jessica Lugo.

The dog stayed on their porch for nearly 12 hours until animal control officers picked him up the next day. The said he appears to be a victim of dog fighting.

He's now being treated at Noah's Ark rescue facility near Hilton Head. He's been given the name "Otto."

Otto is recovering well, but still needs several operations and major reconstructive surgery to his face. It's possible he can be adopted when he fully recovers.

The Lugos say they never hesitated to open their hearts to Otto.

"The dog needed some help," Anthony said. "If we wouldn't have helped him out probably in a day or two- it probably would have been dead."

Investigators say they're following up on leads and are hoping to get a break in the case soon.

NewsChannel 15 filed a Freedom of Information request to learn where animal control officers picked up Otto.

Authorities initially didn't release the location for fear it could jeopardize their investigation.

Once they did, the Lugos agreed to share their story with us.