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Harmony Used as Bait Dog, Says Family

More details are emerging about the deaf puppy's time away from home.

As people gathered to meet Harmony at , Sheyla and Patrick Thomasson kept expressing their gratitude to everyone who handed out fliers and sent them well-wishes while the puppy was missing.

from Sheyla Thomasson's car, which was parked at the Manhattan Village Mall. The puppy was when a tip was called into Lovejoy Foundation Director Erin Lovejoy, who lives in Redondo Beach.

The puppy, a deaf boxer-American bulldog mix, had been used as a bait dog in a dogfighting ring, according to an anonymous tip Thomasson received. Bait animals are used to test a potential fighting dog's "gameness," or will to fight. The bait animals are often mauled or killed.

Harmony survived with several bruises, scrapes and cuts, and a cigarette burn on her back; however, after a week of being surrounded by people who love her, she is recovering well, her family said. The scrapes, bruises, cuts and burn are healing, and she's getting along with Bella, the family's other dog.

"What saved her is she's deaf," Lovejoy told Patch. Because Harmony couldn't hear the din of dogs snarling and fighting, that sort of noise won't trigger future reactions.

While the camera from KCBS and KCAL was trained on the Torrance Girl Scout troop that helped pass out "missing dog" fliers, several people walked up to Sheyla and Patrick Thomasson and hugged them, congratulating the couple on Harmony's return.

One woman, Lori Nava, drove all the way from Newberry Park, according to a post on the Lovejoy Foundation's Facebook page.

The Thomassons are just happy the puppy is home.

"We were just jumping up and down in the kitchen [when we got the call from Lovejoy]," Sheyla Thomasson told KCBS. "I even threw my cell phone up in the air."

The children are happy, she said, and Bella is eating again.

Police in Manhattan Beach and Lawndale are investigating Harmony's disappearance, Thomasson said.

Clare A January 18, 2012 at 01:50 AM
I am so glad Harmony is home safe. It is heartbreaking that beloved lost pets are used as bait animals at all. I hope this prompts more investigation into dog fighting and cries from the public to crack down on this cruel and evil sport.
Diane Naletich January 18, 2012 at 10:39 PM
This is truly a very sad story about people abusing animals. It's wonderful to see our community pulling together and supporting the family. Hats off to the Lovejoy Foundation for their support of animals.

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