Man faces animal cruelty charges in connection to malnourished, wounded dog

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A Bridgeport man has been charged with animal cruelty in what one rescue organization calls one of the worst cases of neglect they've ever seen.

Rashad Gorham made his first appearance before a judge Tuesday that local nonprofit Project Precious Rescue has been waiting a year for.

The dog at the center of the case, Bruno, weighed just 16 pounds when his former owner brought him to Shoreline Veterinary Emergency Care and signed over ownership about a year ago. The vet later told police the pitbull-French bulldog mix suffered from severe mistreatment.

"It could've gone either way at the beginning," says Stacey Cisero, of Project Precious Rescue. "We didn't know if he'd survive or not. so it just really broke our hearts."

Cisero says you could see every bone in Bruno's body when he was rescued. She says he also had a gash on his head and suffered from severe malnutrition, anemia, a severe heart murmur and infections in all of his paws.

Project Precious Rescue got involved, taking Bruno in and paying for what became his lengthy medical care.

Today, Bruno is a healthy 2-year-old, happy and thriving in a new home in Fairfield County. But the group also wants Bruno's former owner held accountable on animal cruelty charges. Police arrested Gorham last month following a lengthy investigation that began with a call from the animal hospital.

"It was very difficult to sit in the courtroom with him knowing that he did this to Bruno," says Cisero.

Volunteers with the rescue group watched on as the judge announced she would appoint an attorney to act as an animal advocate for Bruno as the case moves forward.

Court documents show that in an interview with police, Gorham told them the dog had simply stopped eating.

The appointed animal advocate is expected to be in court for the next hearing Jan. 16.



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