A pit bull dumped over a bank along the Schuylkill River in a pet carrier and left to die was rescued after it was discovered by boys playing basketball at Baer Park in northwest Reading, authorities said Monday.
The boys heard the animal's cries late Sunday afternoon and walked toward it on a trail that leads to the river, said Harry D. Brown, executive director of the Animal Rescue League in Cumru Township.
The boys saw the plastic case, which had become stuck on a tree branch, and the dog limping in thick brush along the river, he said.
One of the boys' parents called the Animal Rescue League.
"When I showed up, she (the pit bull) was right along the river in a thicket, and she was crying," Brown said. "I climbed down the bank, and she came over to me."
The dog, estimated to be 5 or 6 months old, has a broken hind leg that will require surgery, he said. The animal is being treated at a veterinary hospital.
Whoever tossed the crate down the bank probably thought it would roll into the river, but it got snagged on a branch and the dog got out, Brown said.
"I don't think she could make it up over the bank on her own because of her leg being broken," Brown said.
Officials don't know if the dog was injured when it was thrown over the bank or if it was hurt earlier and its owner decided to get rid of the animal rather than get it treated.
X-rays showed the break, which is near the top of the limb, was no more than two days old, Brown said.
He also didn't know how long the dog had been trapped along the riverbank, although he said it's likely the animal was taken there in darkness the previous night.
The dog had well-healed bite marks on its head, indicating it probably had been kept with another dog, Brown said.
"If it wouldn't have got caught on the branch it would have rolled all the way into the river," he said. "I think it was one roll away from making it to the river."
Anyone with information that could help authorities find who dumped the pit bull is asked to call the Animal Rescue League at 610-373-8830.