Dog rescue hopes to raise awareness of 'trunking'

Dog rescue hopes to raise awareness of 'trunking'

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Some dog rescuers are asking you to be on the lookout for a new cruel crime -- a form of dog fighting called "trunking."

And local animal advocates say it's happening here in Central Florida.

Rescuers from Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Orlando found Lyla, a 1-year-old pit bull, a few weeks ago.

"For all that she has been through for her short life, she is just a cuddler and a lovebug," said Michelle Unger-Koop, Lyla's foster dog mom.

Unger-Koop said Lyla was overbred.

"We think that she was possibly bred for fighting," Unger-Koop said.

She also thinks Lyla was beaten. Unger-Koop said Lyla's teeth were ground to nubs. Rescuer Linda Rock from Poodle and Pooch said it's to prevent her from fighting off male dogs.

"We realized that Lyla had her teeth filed down and had some scars on her body, face and ears," Rock said. "All signs indicate dog-fighting."

Rock found Lyla wandering near a church in Apopka, living in an abandoned house.

"There was a day I was driving home from work and saw a deceased pit bull on side of the road," Rock said. "The dog appeared to be very young."

She left food and water for her.

"Right after that she walked up to me, sat next to me and gave me a big lick on the face," Rock said.

Rock took her to the vet, and they confirmed their fears. Lyla is known as a "pocket pit." She's a smaller, yet strong dog that is the perfect size to fight in a trunk.
"Trunking" is a fairly new form of dog-fighting in which dogs are tossed in the trunk of a vehicle. The abuser then drives around, turns up the music and lets the dogs fight to the death.

Fox 35 spoke with animal rescuers in Ocala who said that although it may not be on the official radar of law enforcement and animal services in Central Florida yet, trunking is definitely happening there. Some said they've seen people throw dogs in trunks and drive off.

Lyla now lives with Unger-Koop until they can find a permanent home for her.

"These animals have no choice in this," Unger-Koop said.

One thing is now clear: Lyla is about to get a new leash on life.

"We're about to start her new life," Rock said, "but we're looking for an adopter for her."

Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Orlando is still looking for a good home for Lyla. Anyone interested in adopting her or any of the other animals at the rescue can go to their website for more information.

The women plan to contact their local authorities for help. Anyone who might have witnessed trunking is urged to contact animal control.

Poodle and Pooch is a Central Florida rescue that takes in special-needs dogs that others turn away. They operate on donations and support from the local community. For more information on the group, how you can help or how to adopt Lyla, go to

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