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'He's A Fighter': Severely Malnourished, Emaciated Dog Making Miracle Recovery In Dunn County

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It's the worst case of animal abuse a Wisconsin shelter has ever seen.

When Gabriel first arrived at the Dunn County Humane Society last week, he weighed only 23.5 pounds -- when a dog his size should weigh 60 to 70 pounds.

"He was barely able to stand, let alone walk," said Jamie Wagner, with the Dunn County Humane Society. "He was having a hard time breathing."

Wagner has been the kennel manager at the humane society for 14 years.

"This is the worst case that I have seen for emaciated and body score condition," Wagner said.

A deputy with the Dunn County Sheriff's office found Gabriel abandoned on the side of the highway near Menomonie on Friday. Detectives are investigating this as a criminal case.

Wagner believes this is a case of animal abuse, saying Gabriel smelled like he had been living in a hoarder house when arrived to their shelter.

Gabriel The Dog found malnourished emaciated in Wisconsin 2
Gabriel (credit: CBS)

"He didn't have any burrs on him, he didn't have any ticks on him. Like I said, he could barely walk, so he wasn't out running, fending for himself," Wagner said.

Wagner hopes this abuser is found, to make sure no other animals are treated this way.

"It is a very emotional job, and we see a lot of heartbreak here," she said.

But Wagner refuses to let this miracle end that way.

"He's a fighter, and, you know, he still has lots of life left in him and he's not giving up," she said.

The shelter named the dog "Gabriel" after the archangel from the Bible.

"He's definitely got someone up there looking out for him," Wagner said.

The shelter has already received hundreds of adoption requests, but the shelter says Gabriel won't be ready for adoption for at least another two months. In the meantime, they say the best way to help is donate.

The shelter is a nonprofit, so all donated money directly to Gabriel and all the animals they serve. Click here to donate.

Anyone with information on who abused Gabriel, call the sheriff's office at 715-232-1348. Tips can also be left anonymously at

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