Were Burned L.A. Dogs Victims of the Sun, Not Abusers?

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Fergus golden retriever chemical burns on back

Since July, at least eight dogs have been found in northeast Los Angeles County and neighboring Kern County with severe burns down the middle of their backs.

Most recently, a Chihuahua puppy with what appeared to be chemical burns was found in Boyle Heights on Oct. 8. This was the first known attack on a dog in the City of Los Angeles.

A reward that’s increased to $50,000 has been offered for information leading to the conviction of the abuser(s).

But the initial findings in a controversial report by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department conclude it wasn’t a person who burned the dogs with some kind of chemical — in almost all cases, the abuser was the sun.

“Both animal forensic experts and veterinary experts formed the opinion the dogs were not intentionally burnt, but suffering from burns caused by the sun, solar thermal necrosis,” the LACSD said in a statement, KNBC reports.

“If a dog was burned with any substance anywhere on their body, it is common behavior they will scratch at it with their paws or attempt to lick the injured area. None of the dogs had burns to their paws, mouths or tongues.”

(Wouldn’t it be pretty difficult, if not impossible, for a dog to reach a burn down the middle of his back with his tongue, or even a paw?)

Investigators looked at 10 cases. Nine of the dogs had been discovered with burns during the past three months. Only one dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel found back in 2012, had suffered chemical burns, according to the report.

One of the nine dogs was Fergus, a stray Golden Retriever found burned in Lancaster two months ago. He has recovered from his injury and was adopted this week. His veterinarian, Dr. Alan Schulman, was shocked with the LACSD’s findings, and sticks by his original diagnosis of an acid burn.

“I’m flat-out stunned,” he told KNBC. “I must’ve been absent from vet school that day.”

A woman from Doggy Smiles Rescue who’s fostering Taco, another of the burn victims, told KNBC the report was “ridiculous.”

“His skin was literally peeling off his back and it pretty much went clear down to the bone,” she said. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s not the sun’s fault.”

L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich told KNBC he is very concerned about the welfare of dogs. He said that as the LACSD investigation continues, the $50,000 reward is still being offered.

Anyone with information is asked to call L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Gore at 661-940-3851 or the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control at 661-974-8096.

Photo via Facebook

  • Mercedes Frank

    That does sound and look like acid burns there is no way the sun could just burn the back like that. when i worked in rescue in California we had a couple of cases that were like that.

    • COJenn

      It was the other side but my sister’s dog who was a Dalmatian got really bad burns like that on his private area and on his belly where his hair was thin because even though she provided shade, shelter, bedding – so lots of spots to not get sun and even though she put sunscreen on his light and thin hair spots he would lay out all day on his back balls up… I don’t know that I believe that so many dogs got burned in the same area, ESPECIALLY through the fur! but I have seen really bad sun burns like that but like I said it’s were they don’t have much fur and most dogs are smart enough to roll over but by the time her dog would roll over (deep sleeper) that would hurt so he would just put it back up in the air so that the ground wasn’t touching it! She had to stop letting him play outside in the summer all together because of the skin damage and that he liked to roll and scratch his back and then would fall asleep doing it even with sunscreen! But even she will admit that dog was not the smartest dog like he would be standing over the bowl of water tounge so long and clearly thirsty and she would splash his tounge or snout…and then he would drink – even though the water was in the same place all the time and the dog had good vision so he did all kinds of stuff that just said “hi I am not a smart dog” so my problem is believing that there were what 8-9 dogs that would stand, lay or keep walking but either way keeping the sun in about the same position most of the day for many days in a row!

  • Linda

    Sounds like a cover-up to me!!