LANCASTER – A golden retriever that was brought to a Lancaster animal shelter with severe burns on its back is continuing to recover at a West Los Angeles treatment center, and authorities are working to determine who abused the dog.
The dog, who has been named “Fergus,” was brought to a Lancaster animal shelter Aug. 11 and subsequently turned over to the Animal Medical Center of Southern California in West Los Angeles for treatment, with the help of the Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue Group.
Fergus was apparently taken to the shelter by a good Samaritan who found the wounded animal wandering the streets around a Walmart store in Lancaster, according to CBS Los Angeles. However, when the injured dog was first found, no report was made to the sheriff’s department, which learned of the canine’s injury this week when contacted by news media, said Lt. David Grall of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control has launched an animal abuse investigation, officials said Wednesday.
In the meantime, Fergus has been making what doctors called an almost miraculous recovery. The animal had severe burns on its back, beginning at the base of its neck extending almost to its tail.
“The fact that this guy still trusts people, wags his tail and will let us treat him, considering the horrendous way that some person hurt him, is absolutely remarkable,” Dr. Alan Schulman of the Animal Medical Center told NBC4.
Schulman told the station he suspects the dog was not set on fire, but had some type of chemical or battery acid poured on him.
Channel 4 reported that after it aired a story about the dog’s plight, a viewer offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the person who hurt Fergus.
A Gofundme page has been set up to help cover the dog’s treatment costs. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than $15,000 had already been raised.
According to a statement on the Gofundme page, the golden retriever, about one or two years of age, was brought into the Lancaster shelter “with burns down his entire back.”
“He is being treated at AMC now for severe burns and we are hoping to stave off infection, which is what we are most concerned about at this point,” according to the website.
UPDATED 8.20.15: Rewards offered, more dogs burned
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the person or people who severely burned “Fergus” the golden retriever, the organization announced Thursday.
“It takes a dangerous lack of empathy to pour acid on a dog and leave him for dead on the side of the road,” PETA Senior Director Colleen O’Brien said. “PETA is urging anyone with information about this case to come forward now before anyone else is hurt.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, meanwhile, said he will ask his board colleagues on Sept. 1 to approve a $10,000 reward.
“With this reward, we hope to encourage the public to come forth with any information that will help us identify, apprehend and prosecute whomever is responsible for these depraved acts of cruelty,” he said.
Fergus was one of four dogs that were brought to the Lancaster Animal Shelter in recent weeks suffering from severe chemical burns, according to various media reports.
Two of the burned dogs – found in Lancaster and Rosamond — had to be euthanized. The third dog, found in Palmdale, managed to survive, according to a KTLA.