Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

As soon as she saw him on TV, Brandi Conley-Kesson of Eaton Rapids knew she wanted to adopt Big Busterton, now known as “Gus.” The moment he was available for adoption she was in line to adopt this friendly, dark copper-colored pitbull.
But this is not the usual story of going to the Capital Area Humane Society (CAHS) and just adopting a dog.
Busterton was found wandering the streets in Bath Township in March and was taken to animal control there. He did not have a microchip to identify his owner and was not neutered.
When doing an exam on the dog at animal control, they noticed the dog had a massive jaw injury. He was transferred to CAHS, who discovered that this was more than just an injury.
CAHS performed a further examination on the dog and discovered that his jaw was severely injured. He was sedated and dental x rays were taken. The exam revealed that the dog had been shot in the face. Surgery was performed, and part of his jaw was removed. He is still able to eat and drink and is recovering well. The Humane Society has launched an investigation into who hurt the dog.
Conley-Kesson and her family have taken the dog into their hearts and home. “He is sweet, lovable, and trusting,” Conley-Kesson said, “and he is adjusting amazingly.” Her family recently lost their family dog of six years and were closely following the story of Busterton online anwd on TV.
“I didn’t want to leave anything to chance,” she explained. “As soon as he was available from CAHS I was there to adopt him.”
He’s around two years old, she believes, “because he’s still got a bit of puppy in him.” He loves to play ball and loves to slide on their hardwood floor.
“He’s cute and a little hard-headed,” Conley-Kesson said. He has adapted well to his new family, has been protective around her sons, and is gentle with their cats.
“I don’t think he even realizes there is anything wrong with him,” Conley-Kesson said. “He has no trouble eating hard dog food, even though he is missing so many teeth.”
Drinking water is another story, she explained, “You can tell when Gus has been drinking of water—there’s a puddle on the floor.”
Why did she feel so strongly about adopting Gus? “To make sure no one hurt him again,” she explained, and because I just love his little face. He’s a great dog. He listens and is learning the rules of the house. There is nothing wrong with him.”
“He didn’t deserve that. What would cause a person to do that to a dog?”
“There is a $1,000 reward being offered to those with information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person responsible for shooting the dog,” Penny Pearsall of the Capital Area Humane Society said, “but unfortunately, we still don’t have any leads.”
If you have information about who hurt Gus, contact the Capital Area Humane Society Intake and Cruelty Manager, Liz Kowal, at, or call the shelter at (517) 626-6060.