A Tortured Dog's Best Friend

Amid the news of the Michael Vick dog fighting controversy comes a feel good story courtesy of Chase Utley and his wife Jen.

Jen Utley was spending some quiet time at home, while her husband was in Reading to start a rehab assignment with the Double-A Reading Phillies. With a newscast on the television, Mrs. Utley was moved by a story on KYW-3 about a dog that was tortured by a group of teens, suffering severe injuries before being set on fire. The story moved her to do something and before the story had spread, she was at the Philadelphia chapter of the SPCA with her checkbook open to pay for any treatment that the dog would require.

SPCA officials initially put the cost of the treatment at a minimum of $3000, which was reportedly covered, in full, by the Utleys. Officials also said that Jen Utley wanted to be sure the dog would receive any medical help necessary, without concern for the cost of the treatment.

"It's really disheartening to see that this kind of abuse can come out on an animal like this," said Jen Utley, with tears welling in her eyes. The Utleys have taken up the prevention of animal abuse as a cause that they have devoted time and money to in the past.

SPCA CEO Howard Nelseo said the dog is responding well to initial treatment and has a loving spirit, often wagging her tail in response to attention from people around her. "Despite the brutal beating she took, despite the severe burns across her face and back, she wags her tail, so we'd like her legacy to be, ‘Stop this now,'" said Nelseo.

While there are no arrests in the case, officials say that shortly after the report by Carol Erickson aired, there were numerous calls providing leads as to the identity of the people involved in the assault and animal cruelty officials are hopeful that arrests will be made in the case. Anyone with information can contact Philadelphia Police. If you would like more information on how to help the injured puppy, that is thought to be about a year old, or other animals that are the victims of abuse, contact the Pennsylvania SPCA at 215-426-6300.

Mr. Utley went 1-for-3 in the first game of a double-header for Reading and is hoping to be activated as early as Saturday to rejoin the Phillies lineup.

Adam Eaton started the first game for Reading and pitched two innings, getting off to a shaky start by hitting a batter, giving up back-to-back singles and a sacrifice fly before getting the next two hitters to retire the side. Eaton gave up another hit in the second, but picked up a double-play ground ball to end the inning. Eaton threw 38 pitches, including 23 strikes.

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