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L.A. County officials approve $25,000 reward in dog burning attacks

A cocker spaniel burned by an unknown substance in Los Angeles County.

A cocker spaniel burned by an unknown substance in Los Angeles County.

(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

The malicious burning of dogs, mostly in Lancaster, has prompted Los Angeles County to offer a $25,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the culprits.

Most of the dogs targeted in the attacks have been pit bulls, but a golden retriever was also injured.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich’s motion for the reward in connection with at least seven attacks since July on dogs in both L.A. and Kern counties. Dogs have been found with long burns on their back. Authorities believe they may be caused by a caustic chemical. Two of the dogs were so severely injured that they were euthanized.

The similar injuries and proximity of the attacks have led officials to believe that the same person or persons may be involved.

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While animal control officers occasionally encounter stray animal abuse cases, it’s “not anything with this number of animals in a short period of time. It’s not something we see regularly at all,” said Derek Brown, deputy director of L.A. County animal control.

Antonovich said several burned dogs have been brought to the Lancaster shelter, which is in his district, over the past month. He called the burnings “depraved acts of cruelty.”

Fergus, a 1- to 2-year-old stray, was found in Lancaster in early August with deep burns running down his back and was taken to a shelter, according to the Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue.

Veterinarians who work with the rescue group believe someone poured gasoline or lighter fluid on the golden retriever’s back and set him on fire.

The dog was treated at the Animal Medical Center of Southern California in West Los Angeles for third-degree burns, which caused nerve damage, the group said.

The group has set up a Go Fund Me page for anyone interested in donating money to help pay for Fergus’ treatment.

County officials are asking anyone with information on the cases to call (661) 940-4191.

“We’re really trying to figure out who’s doing this, and hopefully we can get some leads from the community,” Brown said.

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Staff writer Veronica Rocha contributed to this report.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.


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