GRAPHIC: Reward for info on severely-burned dog continues to rise

The dog was brought to the Francis R. Willis SPCA severely burned. (Source: FRWSPCA)
The dog was brought to the Francis R. Willis SPCA severely burned. (Source: FRWSPCA)

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The reward offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case of a severely burned a dog that died Tuesday from its injuries continues to increase.

Crime Stoppers of the Lowcountry says the reward is now $2,600.

A good Samaritan was putting out food for her cat when the severely-burned dog wandered onto her porch, according to an incident report. She told Dorchester County deputies she had never seen the dog in the area before. Deputies then called the county's Animal Control.

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The dog, who SPCA staffers named Michael after the angel in the movie of the same name, was estimated to have been between one and two years old and was believed to be a stray, SPCA spokesperson Kelly Harrold said.

The dog could barely walk and was carried inside for treatment, which included pain medication and fluids, Harrold said. It was taken to the SPCA at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning. After an evaluation from the facility's chief veterinarian, the dog was transported to the Charleston Veterinary Referral Center.

"We did everything we could and even though this dog in critical condition passed, his last moments were surrounded by love and compassion," FRWSCPA Executive Director Kim Almstedt said in a release. "For a brief moment, I have to believe he felt my hands on his back and knew he was loved. His past, whatever happened, was now truly in the past. His future is bright and filled with no pain."

The SPCA's lead veterinarian had assessed the extent of the injuries and treatment options staffers transported it for treatment, which Harrold said could easily run into thousands of dollars.

The dog was missing fur on his legs and the majority of his body and has sores, she said. The dog was also emaciated and covered in fleas.

"He's severely burned," Kelly Harrold, Marketing & Development Manager for Frances R. Willis SPCA, said. "He's burned off all his fur on his legs and the underside of his body. He's riddled with fleas. He's not well-taken care of. He's purely emaciated. This is one of the worst cases we've ever received here at Frances Willis."

Harrold said the SPCA team jumped into action to soothe the animal's extreme burns before ultimately deciding to transport the dog to a specialized veterinary clinic for further treatment and receiving prognosis.

"There is shock, but there is hope," Harrold said earlier in the day. "We're in a community of people that love animals, and we're going to take care of him no matter the cost."

The SPCA's Healing Hearts Fund pays for medical treatment of animals who are in the shelter's care. Click here for more information on the shelter's website.

Animal Control officers have returned to the area where the dog was found to investigate, Norton said. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Dorchester County Animal Control at 843-563-0015.

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