'Baron the Rottweiler' recovering after mutilation, adopted from Michigan Humane Society
Baron the Rottweiler was brought to the Michigan Humane Society with his nose and ears cut off, his tail mutilated and his hind legs lacerated. After being found by Shane Fitts in Detroit limping on the side of the road, he was rescued and later underwent facial reconstruction surgery, said Director of Marketing and Communications of the Michigan Humane Society Kathy Bilitzke. He has now been adopted by Lara and Todd.
“We quickly determined that his wounds were intentional and at least one person and more than likely two or more people participated in the abuse," Bilitzke said.
Associate professor and Section Chief of Surgery Bryden Stanley of the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine was the one who performed majority of the surgery at the Michigan Humane Society in Detroit assisted by Dr. Maria Podsiedlik from MSU. Michigan Humane Society’s chief medical officer Robert Fisher also worked on the surgery, specifically on the tail. Stanley spoke at the Veterinary Medical Center at MSU on April 3 for a talk hosted by the Student Association of Veterinary Surgery.
“They were particularly interested in Baron because he got quite a bit of publicity," Stanley said. "He was a cruelty case, so he had been maliciously wounded, which is pretty awful."
Not only did Stanley speak about Baron, but she took the opportunity to discuss other cases and principals of facial reconstructive surgery. Baron needed flaps of skin from the side of his lips to be brought up to recreate the top of his nose. She also spoke about a dog who had her face bitten off by another dog, one who suffered from radiation burn and one who suffered from a snake bite.
“It’s also very important, though it’s not important from the dog’s point of view, the main thing that we’re looking for is pain-free function," Stanley said. "But the owner quite likes to have a symmetrical face, so we try to make it as symmetrical as possible. Symmetry’s a big thing when it comes to facial reconstruction.”
Bilitzke said that MSU became involved with Baron’s surgery because Fisher was aware of Stanley’s reconstructive capabilities and reached out to her in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Stanley said most of the cases they see are involved with motor vehicle accidents, but Baron was a different case.
“We are taught, at least in our classes as far as cruelty cases go, that it's up to us to keep an eye on that with clients that come in with animals," Student Association of Veterinary Surgery secretary Marisa Cervantes said. "We have to make sure that we pay attention ... if we see any signs of cruelty, we have a responsibility to notify the authorities and then they’ll be able to investigate."
The Michigan Humane Society currently has a team of investigators looking for those responsible, but Bilitzke said it could take up to a year for a solid lead to surface.
“He’s 100 percent now, he’s been adopted," Stanley said. "He has a slightly shorter nose than he had before, but he’s in no pain and he’s happy and he doesn’t seem to have any side effects after what had happened to him.”
Bilitzke said they were called by every state in the nation, children sent in drawings and toys, classrooms collected money and Baron has received attention from all across the world.
“Baron’s probably one of our most significant cases ever," Bilitzke said. "I got a note from a guy in Connecticut who said, 'Baron is the dog that America fell in love with,' and that’s exactly what he is.”