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Christmas miracle saves injured puppy rescued at recycling facility

A lucky puppy named "Gem" was recovering at San Francisco Animal Care and Control Sunday, two days after the injured dog was plucked from certain death at a landfill from a trash sorting conveyor belt by recycling center workers.

Gem was given her name by staff at the shelter where she is being nursed back to health.

"She's a precious little gem that ended up in a trash can," said animal control officer Capt. Lee Ellis Brown.

The ten-month-old Apricot Poodle mix was found Friday evening by Recology staff at the transfer station off Tunnel Road near Candlestick Park.

The puppy was found when a trash bag on a conveyor belt where workers were sorting out recyclables from the garbage moved by itself.

"We could tell the puppy was still moving and it was trying to crawl out of the bag itself," said Recology material handler Gregory Foster. "Luckily we stopped the line in time before it actually fell off the belt into the pit."

The pit is the final stop before the landfill.

"We pulled the puppy out of the bag and examined it. The puppy was frightened, scared. It was whining," said Foster.

Foster and his co-workers called San Francisco Animal Care and Control. The puppy suffered significant wounds to its neck.

"Some are consistent with bite wounds, but we're still not sure. So our veterinarian has examined her and we're just waiting," said Brown.

In the meantime, animal control is seeking the dog's owner and answers as to both the injuries and how the pup found her way into the trash.

Animal welfare would like to know what truck Gem came in on into this facility. That might help determine where in the city she came from.

However, the workers at the facility said that would be difficult if not impossible. One thing seems clear: the puppy was disposed of deliberately.

"It had to go into a dumpster by someone placing her there," said Capt. Brown.

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