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Tito was sick and in pain when the group rescued him in New Jersey. Photos from Guardians of Rescue Facebook

A Smithtown-based animal rescue group is continuing to guard the community’s most vulnerable.

Guardians of Rescue, a nonprofit organization, rescued Tito, a seven-year-old Argentine Mastiff who was found in a junkyard in New Jersey Feb. 2. The group works to provide aid to animals in distress, including facilitating foster programs, rehabilitation and assisting other rescue groups. The Guardians said Tito was mistreated, neglected and was near death when they rescued him.

“This dog was in such horrible condition that he could barely walk,” Robert Misseri, founder and president of the nonprofit, said in a statement. “He has been severely neglected and it’s so sad to see. We had to act and do what we can to change things for him.”

Tito is now a healthy and happy dog. Photos from Guardians of Rescue Facebook

According to the group, a good Samaritan in the New Jersey community originally found Tito and told the Guardians about the condition he was living in. The community member said they attempted many times to get Tito’s owner to surrender the dog to no avail, and eventually the Guardians were called in to help. Tito had been living in a mechanic’s shop his whole life and may have been being used for breeding purposes. When rescued he had severe ear infections in both ears, which has lead to hearing loss, was 35 pounds underweight, was living in constant pain and could barely walk. He was also filthy and had teeth that were decaying.

The owner wanted to continue breeding Tito, despite the fact he was emaciated and could barely walk, the group said. After being evaluated by the resident veterinarian, he and members of the Guardians convinced the pet owner to surrender Tito.

“No one knows how much longer he would have survived, but for however long it was painful each day just for him to live,” Dr. Marvin “Moose” Baynes, the Guardians’ resident veterinarian, said in a statement. “Tito is recovering and doing well. He’s lucky to have been rescued and we will do all we can to help him make a recovery.”

The group is ensuring he gets the proper medical care he needs, and will work to find him a proper and loving home where he can live out the rest of his life.

Tito is currently living with Baynes as he continues to have his health evaluated and receive treatment.

Last month, the Guardians rescued a dog named Bear who had been living chained to a doghouse for 15 years. He was adopted in January and now is in a safe and happy home.

Guardians of Rescue has a new show called “The Guardians,” which airs on Animal Planet on Saturdays at 10 p.m. To learn more about the nonprofit or to donate, visit www.guardiansofrescue.org.

Guardians of Rescue members cut the chain holding Bear. Photo from Guardians of Rescue.

One dog in Smithtown has more than a few guardian angels watching over him.

Bear has spent 15 years chained to a doghouse in the backyard of a Smithtown home, but as of Jan. 23, he’s officially off the leash. The black lab has Guardians of Rescue, a Smithtown-based organization that works to provide aid to animals in distress, including facilitating foster programs, rehabilitation and assisting other rescue groups, to thank for his new-found freedom.

“We received a call about a dog in need of a doghouse,” Robert Misseri, founder and president of the group, said. “But when we got there, it was even worse than that. That’s when we discovered the poor dog had spent his whole life attached to a heavy chain. We knew then and there that we had to do something to make a difference in that dog’s life, and so we did.” The group said Bear had endured harsh winters with little attention.

The guardians said they spoke with the dog owner, who agreed to surrender the animal to the rescue group.

“It’s excellent,” Misseri said as Bear was cut free from the chains. “It’s nice to see the dog get off the chain after 15 years and live out the rest of its life with a nice older family, perhaps who will treat him right. He’ll lay around inside and have a good rest of his life.”

Bear was cut free, loaded into the front seat of a pickup and sent to the groomer. The group is currently searching for a permanent home for Bear.

The rescue group said its plan is to make Bear veggie burgers, take him to dog parks, on car rides and even get him into an indoor pool. The helpers also want to make sure he’s able to spend some time lying in front of a warm fireplace.

“Our mission is to help rescue as many animals as we can, but we can’t do it without the help of the community,” Misseri said. “One phone call from someone in the community set the wheels in motion that have changed Bear’s life. That’s a true success story and why we exist.”

Guardians of Rescue has a new show “The Guardians,” which airs on Animal Planet Saturdays at 10 p.m. The show depicts the work of the group as they travel Long Island rescuing animals and providing them with a better life.

The community can assist the group by watching out for animals in need and contacting the organization when they see one in distress. To learn more or get involved, visit www.guardiansofrescue.org.