Puppy recovering after being burned in trash can, saved by officers

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - An 8 to 10-month-old puppy is recovering after police officers found her burned inside a smoking trash can Saturday.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has come forward to offer a $5,000 to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the individuals who are responsible for the crime.

"Somebody out there knows something about where this puppy came from and how she ended up burned in a trash can," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "PETA urges anyone with information about this dog or the reported young people who fled the scene to come forward immediately so that whoever is responsible for her abuse can be held responsible."

The rescue was caught on video by an officer's body camera.

A security guard called Savannah-Chatham Metro Police officers to the 600 block of East Lathrop Avenue after seeing two trespassers dragging a trash can. Officers found the dog at the bottom of the trash can, and rushed her to Savannah Animal Care emergency clinic.

Kari Jenkins, medical director of the animal hospital, said the dog had plastic from the trash can melted into her fur, along with some skin and fur burns. She also treated the puppy for smoke inhalation. Jenkins said, being a puppy, the animal rebounded fast.  She said the burns are now healing nicely, and the puppy is on antibiotics and pain medicine.

The clinic staff is calling the puppy Phoenix, and Jenkins thinks she is part Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

"She's definitely a mix, and what she is is super cute," she said.

Jenkins has worked in emergency care and shelters for years, but said seeing an animal that's been intentionally hurt is especially hard.

"It's extremely upsetting, especially when it's intentional, " Jenkins said. "I mean, we see burn cases where it's house fires, things like that, so we're used to treating them, but anytime there's an intentional involvement, it actually gets you extremely angry."

Jenkins said Georgia's animal cruelty laws have recently gotten stronger, but cases like this often aren't solved without the public's help.

"A lot of times, these cases, the people aren't found because people aren't coming forward," she said. "Unfortunately, people who are able to do these things to animals a lot of times will even brag about it or shoot videos, or other people will hear about it, so we really need the community to kind of reach out if they or people in the area at the time this happened or know of some kids talking about something that they heard, or someone they may have seen. Coming forward with that information is extremely important because the people who are able to do this are mentally ill. The sooner we can get them help, the less likely they are to escalate to even more heinous crimes or even involving humans."

The puppy, who has since been named Phoenix, is recovering from her burns and is currently in the process of being adopted.

Anyone with information should contact Metro Police.

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