The dog thrown from a moving car on Long Island earlier this month is showing signs of improvement at the Veterinary Medical Clinic of Long Island in West Islip, NBC 4 New York has learned.
"He looks like a different dog already," said Dr. Lynda Doudon. "He's bigger, he's gaining weight, he's getting some muscle and he's doing really well."
Loudon said Joey the pit bull still needs a lot of care but he's already showing significant improvement.
The 3-month-old dog was left to die near the Sagtikos Parkway in Brentwood after being sealed in a plastic bag and tossed out of a moving car.
Emergency room doctors said the dog, who suffered broken vertebrae and temporarily lost use of his hind legs from the incident, was also malnourished and had heavily infected wounds around his neck -- an indication he may have been used in illegal dog fights in the past.
"Initially, we had to get him through the shock, and that was a very critical period for his first few days," said Loudon. "He's stable, and now we're working on strengthening his muscles and giving him physical therapy every day.
"He's still getting all of his pain medications and antibiotics," she said. "His wounds are almost healed underneath his neck so now we're in the next phase."
Suffolk County's SPCA has increased the reward to $27,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person that harmed the dog.
"We just want to apprehend this perpetrator who's responsible for this heinous act of animal cruelty," said SPCA Chief Robert Gross.
With no description or leads on the car or the person that owned Joey, Suffolk County's SPCA has inspected cars near the area where he was discovered.
Officers also plan on canvassing the towns of Bay Shore and Brentwood with fliers asking for the public's help this weekend.
"Somebody knows what happened and we're hoping that somebody will come forward doing the right thing to bring this person to justice," Gross said.
Meanwhile, Joey has become the most popular pet at the clinic, with pages set up on Facebook in his honor and dozens of cards and even toys from well-wishers hanging in the clinic.
Doctors say he has at least another month of medical care ahead at the clinic before they can start fielding the numerous adoption requests that continue to come in.
But the popular pit bull is already in high demand from people looking to adopt him.
"We're going to take a lot of time to make sure he gets the best home possible," Loudon said.
Published at 5:19 PM EDT on Aug 23, 2012 | Updated at 6:39 AM EDT on Aug 24, 2012