Fund-raiser to help abused pit bull

Malachi (Source: Three Black Dogs)
Malachi (Source: Three Black Dogs)

BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) - Rescuers of a pit bull that was found toothless and abused plan to hold a fund-raiser to cover its medical bills and plan to launch a foundation to help other abused dogs.

Christine Wroebel, of Bluffton, found the dog on her morning run and he had signs that he had been involved in dog fighting, including a large leather collar with a leash dragging behind him, nearly 20 lacerations, and nearly all of his teeth pulled, said Holly Zusack, the co-owner of Three Black Dogs.

Zusack said these are signs he dog was a "bait" dog or a dog upon which other dogs literally "cut their teeth," for practice before the money-making fights.

Since Aug. 2, the community has donated hundreds of dollars and nearly 200 silent auction items to help Malachi, the abused pit bull.

Zusack said they named him Malachi because biblically it means messenger, and that he could be a symbol of the horrors of what is happening in the community's backyards, according to a news release.

Zusack said the few teeth Malachi have remaining were filed down by an industrial grinder and, sometimes, when Malachi is slurping his water, a few of the filed down teeth fall out in his water bowl.

She said Malachi has no ability to chew hard food, fight back or, even have a barrier, so his tongue stays in place.

Zusack said Malachi had severe heartworm that has the potential of creating fatal blood clots and his treatment will be complete in a few weeks and then he'll be ready for the next stage of his recovery."

Zusack said Malachi will soon live in another safe house with a canine behaviorist so Malachi can receive intensive behavioral rehabilitation.

Zusack and her business partner, Shelly Wine said the phone hasn't stopped ringing with offers to help Malachi.

"Three Black Dogs is like an old-fashion switchboard," Wine said in a statement. "It's crazy.  People as far as Atlanta, Tennessee, New York and even, England have called to cheer us on and offer silent auction items and donations.

The fund-raiser for Malachi will take place at 8 p.m. Sept. 24 at Montana's Restaurant & Grizzly Bar in Bluffton at 16 Kitties Landing Rd. The fund-raiser is $10 and will include a silent auction.  All proceeds will go to the medical and behavioral rehabilitation of Malachi, which are estimated to be about $5,000.

Shelly Wine, co-owner of Three Black Dogs, said local stores and vendors have donated 177 silent auction items that are valued at $30,000. Silent auction items so far include:  a handcrafted gold and diamond ring from Heritage Jewelers of Hilton Head Island shaped as a pit bull, a Baldwin piano, native American handcrafted flute, jewelry, wine, chandelier, furniture and gift certificates.

Event organizers are still accepting silent auction items. Call Three Black Dogs, 843.706.3456 to donate silent auction items. Organizers will pick up auction items if needed.

Those interested in attended are asked to call Montana's to make a reservation in case the restaurant has to set up outside seating at 843.815.2327.

Cathryn Miller, the Outback Karaoke Co. and Mike Palermo, and the Great Pretenders, will provide entertainment.

For more information on the fund-raiser, volunteer opportunities or auction donations, call 843.706.3456.

Zusack and Wine plan to establish a non-profit Malachi Foundation to help other dogs from the abuse of dog fighting. They say they are planning an annual race and other events.

Wine said the mission of the foundation will be to rescue and rehabilitate dogs in the Lowcountry kill shelters, abusive situations and dog fighting and educate the community about the true nature of bully breeds and to place them in loving homes.

Fighting For Malachi organizers are urging all Bluffton and surrounding residents to report suspicious and dog-fighting activity to law enforcement. To report suspicious dog fighting activity or other forms of abuse, call the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office at 911 or non-emergency dispatch 843.524.2777 or Bluffton Police Dept. at 843.706.4550. To remain anonymous, call Bluffton Police Department tip line at 843.706.4560 or enter a tip online at

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