BAKERSFIELD, CA -- A Bakersfield dog is scheduled for surgery after a local rescue organization says a three-year-old French Mastiff was mutilated.
The dog was rescued by Marley's Mutts three weeks ago from the Kern County Animal Shelter.
The rescue group says this is a severe case of animal cruelty and believe "Hooch" was used as a bait dog.
Hooch is described as a happy dog. But, rescue officials say it's taken a long time to get here.
City animal control officers found the French Mastiff in east Bakersfield last month and brought it to the county shelter underweight and with severe injuries.
"If this was to go on for months and months and months, the dog would eventually get so weak and die," said Dr. Thomas J. Willis, San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital.
But that's when Zack Skow with Marley's Mutts stepped in and rescued him.
While Skow was caring for him, he took Hooch to San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital for further treatment.
"You can tell by his ears, what was done to his ears was done to his tongue as well," said Zack Skow, Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue.
"As part of our examination, we wanted to do an examination of the mouth and when we were going to go in and do a cleaning of the teeth, we opened up the mouth and discovered there wasn't any tongue," said Willis.
Skow, along with animal control officials, never new Hooch was without a tongue.
They say he was eating and taking his medications.
"During the recovery, because he had some serious injuries -- didn't want to exacerbate any pain and it was really about him. We wanted to make sure he was comfortable and we didn't want to add to his stress or pain while he was here," said Director Jen Woodard, Kern County Animal Control.
Friday night, Hooch went in for surgery to make it easier for him to eat.
"We're going to have to place what's called a feeding tube, surgically, place a tube that goes into his esophagus and down to his tummy so that food can be given to the dog," said Willis.
Willis says he believes Hooch was used as a bait dog for people to train other dogs to fight.
While Hooch may have a long recovery, he already has a website which will help raise money for medical bills.
You can visit Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue online for more information of how to help.
Bakersfield Police say for now, there is no investigation into this case.
If you have any information, call police at 661-327-7111.