"Wanky Paw" Bruce Wayne Rescued from Animal Cruelty Case, Lives Happily Ever After

Posted by Stacey Venzel
All photos via Chelsey Stewart.

Little Bruce Wayne had a rough life until he met a woman in the Florida Keys.

The story of a brown and white Chihuahua beaten, starved, and hung by his owner made headlines in Monroe County in June 2015. But we promise the story has a happy ending.

David Gross, a Michigan convicted felon who failed to register in the Florida Keys, was arrested at Marathon City Marina when an officer responded to reports that a drunk man was threatening to drown his dog. Gross was waving the Chihuahua--then known as Batman--by his leash and hitting him while the dog struggled to breathe.

chihuahua florida

Animal control took over the situation and, in addition to being abused, found little Batman was malnourished. He also had a deformed paw that looked to have been broken at some point and healed, untreated, out of place.

Safe Harbor Animal Rescue of the Keys, now known as the Florida Keys ASPCA, took Batman into their care. Local resident Chelsey Stewart lives just down the street from the shelter and began volunteering in her free time, frequently picking up a dog to join her on her running route.

pets with santa

Scrolling through Facebook one day, Chelsey saw Batman's story and her heart broke for the little dog. But she wasn't looking to adopt a new pet as she already had a long-haired Chihuahua at home.

Chelsey didn't hear any more about the dog until four months later, when a shelter staff member contacted her. The worker had been fostering Batman. She said Batman's court case had just closed and he would be up for adoption, but he needed a special person to take him in. At the very least, maybe Chelsey could foster him.


She thought it over and soon enough, Batman met Reesie, Chelsey's 10-year-old pride and joy. Reesie took her time warming up to Batman, but Chelsey knew it would work out.

What was meant to be an initial fostering period quickly became the inevitable foster fail. Chelsey recalls to Wide Open Pets:

"I remembered how badly my heart hurt when I read the article months back and they chose me to be his new human."

She went on to say:

"Let's be honest. I never 'fostered' him. I immediately adopted him."

To avoid memories of his abusive owner, Chelsey decided to rename Batman. And what better choice than Bruce Wayne?

Bruce brings out the puppy in Reesie, and Chelsey is forever entertained with his quirkiness. She calls his deformed leg a "wanky paw," and thinks it gives Bruce character. The little dog has a habit of hopping down the stairs using only his two front legs, holding up the rear legs in the air.

This little pup is also a master at dismembering squeaky stuffed animals.

"He can get the stuffing and squeaker out of any toy in less than two seconds."

And like any adorable pooch should, Bruce has his own Instagram: @bwaynedogg.

For more island dog rescues, read about Gordon's second chance in the Bahamas.

All photos via Chelsey Stewart.

What do you think about Bruce Wayne's rescue story? Does your pet have a story? Let us know in the comments below!

WATCH NOW: Mall in Turkey Opens Its Doors to Freezing Street Dogs

oembed rumble video here

recommended for you

"Wanky Paw" Bruce Wayne Rescued from Animal Cruelty Case, Lives Happily Ever After