Puppy Survives Toss from Moving Car

Puppy Survives Toss from Moving Car
Courtesy The Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island

08/16/2012 AT 09:00 AM EDT

Joey is the picture of resilience.

The 3-month-old pit bull was tossed from a moving car in Brentwood, N.Y., on Saturday, and sustained a broken neck, bruised lungs and various abrasions on his body.

The flea-infested and extremely malnourished pup had been in a black plastic trash bag when he was thrown from the vehicle. He was a sore sight when he arrived at the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island later that day. It's hard to believe that just a few days following his awful ordeal, Joey is happy.

"His spirits are great," says Dr. Lynda Loudon, who named the dog. "He's wagging his tail, giving kisses and he moved his front legs for the first time today."

Loudon says her clinic has received more than 50 calls about the adorable dog. She suspects that Joey was used as bait for dog fighting, judging by the old scars on his head and neck, and several infected bite wounds. The Suffolk County SPCA is offering a $2,000 reward for information about the incident.

Though the friendly pooch is recovering well, it's possible Joey's front legs could be paralyzed permanently. Luckily, some of the prospective adopters understand his potential needs. "Finding a home won't be a problem if that's the case," Loudon says. "I do think he'll recover. Every day I see improvement."

For now, Joey is resting in a cage filled with toys given to him by the throngs of people who have heard his heartbreaking story, which was first reported by NBC New York. His care is being funded by donations – including one in the amount of $15, the entire contents of a local boy's piggy bank.

On Thursday, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced that it was offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. It has also provided the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island a grant of $10,000 to help defray the cost of Joey's treatment and care.

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