A pit bull reportedly watched over a 23-month-old child who had been abandoned in the woods in Jacksboro, Tennessee. The mother of the toddler has been found and arrested, but the pit bull is now missing.
On Oct. 9, employees at Wagging Tails Pet Resort, a dog daycare and boarding center, found the child near one of the dog lots, WVLT reported. The child was in an empty pig pen, surrounded by branches, and had numerous recent cuts and bruises. He was alone except for a pit bull named Dixie.
Kristin Dutton, an employee at Wagging Tails, told WVLT News that after she had let out several dogs that morning, they started barking at the pit bull. The dogs attracted attention to the pit bull and the little boy, who was screaming for his mother, according to witnesses.
"If the dog wouldn't have been out there and our dogs wouldn't have been barking at him, then we probably would have never found the kid," Dutton told WVLT News.
When they went to a neighbor's home to call the authorities, "the pit bull didn't leave our side the whole time," according to Dutton.
The Department of Children's Services brought the child to receive medical treatment.
"I think it was about 45 [degrees]," Dutton said of the weather that day. "I know that we wouldn't even leave our dogs out in that weather so I couldn't imagine a little kid being out in that weather."
The pit bull belonged to Charles Pittman, a neighbor who was out of town. He had asked Virginia Cora-Lee Seal, the mother of the abandoned 23-month-old boy, to watch the dog.
Seal told officials that she was high on meth when she left her son in the woods the night before he was found, according to an arrest report. The mother has been charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect, and the boy has been placed in custody of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.
Since the incident, Dixie has gone missing, and its whereabouts are still unknown, according to WBIR. If you see a dog that looks similar to Dixie, please contact the Campbell County Animal Shelter at 423-566-1892.