Southern California authorities are looking for the people responsible for attacking four dogs with chemicals.
A $4,500 reward, a portion of which came from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is being offered for information leading to an arrest. The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control told KNBC-TV the attacks don’t appear to be linked, and could involve gangs.
County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said in a statement that he will ask his colleagues to offer an additional $10,000 reward at their next meeting Sept. 1.
Antonovich said several burned dogs have been brought to the Lancaster shelter, which is in his district, over the last month. He called the burnings “depraved acts of cruelty.”
Two of the four dogs were injured so severely that they had to be euthanized. The other two dogs, a pit bull and a golden retriever, are recovering. At least three of the attacks occurred in the Antelope Valley.
Fergus, a 1- to 2-year-old stray, was found in Lancaster last week with deep burns 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 intentionally 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.
Volunteers named the dog Fergus, which is Irish for strong and powerful, they said.
Fergus, like all golden retrievers, is loving and “just wanted to be held,” the rescue 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 asked anyone with information on the cases to call the Department of Animal Care and Control at (661) 974-8096 or L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Gore at (661) 940-3851.