NBCLA/JOMP: A 2-year-old pit bull pup who may have been the victim of a cruel Fourth of July prank was rescued July 5th, but it’s just the start of what likely will be a long recovery for the badly burned dog. The young pit bull was found July 5 in the Van Nuys, Calif., area and brought to the East Valley Animal Shelter.
While rescuers are unsure exactly what happened to the dog they named Indy, they suspect he may have been hurt by fireworks the day before.
Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team (S.T.A.R.T.) took the dog into their care Thursday. The group, which describes its purpose as removing animals from high-kill shelters in Los Angeles, is offering a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever injured Indy.
"We named him Indy because we want Independence Day to mark his freedom from those who hurt him," according to a video posted to S.T.A.R.T.’s Facebook page.
In the video, Indy takes ginger steps around his cage. He is suffering from third-degree burns over half his body, including on his stomach, legs and paws.
Dr. Daniel Slaton, a well-known surgeon who typically operates on humans, was called in after the pit bull was apparently strapped with fireworks and lit ablaze. He believes based on the pattern and location of the burns, the dog was strapped with fireworks on July 4.
“Fire from the fireworks are going down his legs, and as it was being lit, he was walking and burning the bottoms of his feet,” said Slaton, lead surgeon at the Westlake Village Animal Hospital, where Indy has undergone at least 2 surgeries so far.
Called "sweet and gentle" by rescuers, the 2 to 3-year-old pup (pictured above) is being treated by a burn specialist at the private veterinarian hospital, where he’ll have to stay at least another month.
His next surgery is scheduled for Friday morning.
Rescuers are asking for the public’s help to fund Indy’s extensive recovery.
Anyone interested in donating is asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail a check to:
PO Box 4792
Valley Village, CA 91617
The organization notes that donations should be sent as "Personal and Gift so no charges are taken out, and kindly write INDY in the memo."
See video HERE