SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A search and rescue dog who helped find survivors in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is facing a rough road to recovery after losing a leg in a fight with a neighbor’s dogs.

Rocky, a German Shepherd, fought four dogs that broke through a wooden fence and attacked his sister, Missy.

Rocky’s owner, Sean Crabtree, wasn’t at his Yuba County home when the attack happened and the dog wasn’t found until six hours after the incident. Missy was completely unharmed.

“His whole leg was ripped, just ripped apart on the inside,” Sean said. “I’m telling you, amazing resilience.”

Rocky is now nearing the end of his treatment at the UC Davis Veterinarian Hospital after having one of his rear legs amputated.

The owner of the attacking dogs, Josh Spurlock, said he was out of town when the incident took place and a friend left his dogs outside despite warnings to the contrary.

“I feel really bad about what happened,” Josh said. “It was an accident. What can you do?”

Animal control officers determined the incident wasn’t malicious in nature and returned the attacking dogs without issuing a citation.

Sean has been visiting Rocky twice a day at UC Davis and says the dog is still adjusting to walking on three legs and is fighting off a bout of pneumonia. The bills for Rocky’s treatment are approaching $35,000, but Sean’s homeowner’s insurance is covering the costs.

Rocky is expected to return home within the next couple days.

Comments (23)
  1. hjbh kjnkjbnkj says:

    Why isn’t the other owner paying the bills?

    1. suzy says:

      I agree, at least half as it was at least partly his fault.

      1. Sophia Coley says:

        On the video it said the nieghbor’s insurance that will cover the bills. I think it’s a typo.

  2. mbortin says:

    So sad. Wishing the best to this brave dog and his owner. How do they know the four dogs were attacking his sister if she was unhurt? My niece has a three-legged dog and she’s the fastest dog in Central Park, New York’s dog park. So chances for full recovery are excellent.

    1. Ariel Caporale says:

      She had some bite wounds and she had a tooth extracted at North Pointe veterinary hospital.

  3. gage says:

    wow thats cool, thats realy inspiring

  4. Mare says:

    Those other dog’s owner should cover all the bills and their carnivorous dogs need to go away. This dog is a hero to Missy and the people he served helping after the hurrican Katrina. Thank god a small child wasn’t out in their yard playing. Horrible!

  5. Me too! says:

    I agree! How can it be an accident when you know you have a dangerous animal, and warned the caretaker to lock them up? The neighbor should have kenneled them, and this woundn’t have happened. The other guy sould be footing the bill. Hopefully Sean’s insurance company will go after him.

  6. banana phone says:

    now i wonder what breed of dog was vicious enough to eat through a fence and tear the leg off a german shepherd…. mmmmmmmm i didn’t see that part of the story…

    1. sss says:

      Probably because it WASNT a pit bull. Otherwise it would be mentioned! Blame the deed NOT the breed

      1. babytmz says:

        if you watched the story online, you would have seen that they WERE pit bulls. It’s always a pit bull

  7. Phil says:

    How did this guy get home-owners ins. with a german sheppard? I was told I couldn’t have an agressive dog, by my ins. co.

    1. Churchlady says:

      German shepher RESCUE dogs are anything but aggressive. This dog did not attack, it WAS attacked.

  8. Grapevine says:

    the attacking dogs need to be put down, the neighbor needs to pay full cost, and a citations need to be issued because he was warned about leaving vicious dogs alone

  9. Calvin C. says:

    It wasn’t A dog…it was several pitbulls that attacked the german shep. And it doesn’t matter that the pits were in the care of a third party, the owner is still 100% responsible, PERIOD. By his own confession(pitbull owner) he knew the pits would get through the fence.

  10. Dee H. says:

    Am I understanding this correctly? The dogs broke into the shepherd’s yard, the caretaker had instructions not to leave them outside and no citation was issued? I guess being in your own yard or on your property does not matter anymore. This is appalling on either the part of the Sacramento Police Department or the city ordinances if it is allows this harmful action to be okay. In my opinion this is not an accident it is a total disregard for others, animal or people, by the caretaker.

  11. linda says:

    the video says the owner of the attacking dogs is paying the bill via his homeowner’s insurance so that makes more sense. obviously this has nothing to do with Sac PD since it’s not their jurisdiction.
    people need to be super careful about their fences and ensure they are in good repair so just such a thing does not happen. keep your dogs inside if there are aggressive dogs on the other side of the fence or string up some chicken wire or such along that fence line. the owner of the attacking dogs knew his dogs were aggressive quite obviously and he should certainly be cited – his dogs are violent and should be kept away from other dogs at the very least.

  12. SF Bay Area reader says:

    linda, I disagree. The video is vague how it presents the word “his” to describe whose insurance pays the vet bills. In the video, it could be taken either way to mean either the aggressive dogs’s owner, or, the male dog victim’s family.

    And, the article words in print clearly report it’s the victim’s family.

    In either case, I think it’s absurd + irresponsible that their Animal Control dept refused to cite, much less impound, that pack of 4 aggressive dogs that broke through an established fence to attack both a human and a dog. IMHO the fact the human escaped serious injury after the dogs briefly targeted her, is moot.

    BTW, is there no # limit in Yuba County to how many dogs someone can own? Where I live, a dog owner would automatically get cited with a Civil Misdemeanor to own more than 3, even if all were as docile as can be.

    Best Wishes to Rocky for a fast and contented recovery.

    1. brenda lee says:

      THere was NO Human involved in the fight or even at home durning the fight.

  13. Pit support says:

    Oh Brother…once the word Pit Bull is in the picture they are always named the “bad guys”. German Sheppards are not only larger but are just as mean and defensive when approached. Let’s search out news articles on German Sheppards. And what a crock using Katrina to make the dog look better than it was. This has nothing to do with Katrina! When you use words like “protecting his house and sister”, instead of words like “defensive” as the video states, what do you think the other dogs were doing? Maybe they too were protecting their property and sisters. As I heard it BOTH German Sheppards are always at the fence aggresively barking, which only eggs the pit bulls in to a lather. Come on…Both owners have home owners insurance and both know the limits of their dogs! And get the story straight, the Pit Bull owners are the ones who filed with their Home Owners Ins. Poor Journalisum! Get that fence fixed for God’s sake and call it a day

  14. curious says:

    How come News articles ALWAYS only tell you 1 side of the story?? And how come people jump to conclusions??

  15. PLcrew says:

    one thing and most important thing to point out I think – both owners were not present during the time this happened… how do we know whose dogs initiated the fight..??? Sheppards could have gotten through the fence and gotten chased back into their yard… just as the Pits could have gotten in their yard first… there is no way to tell!!! both parties should split the bill IMO! it was an accident!!

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