A Yolo County animal rescue organization is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the owner of a puppy so starved he’s been described as “a little walking rib cage.”
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and this is one of the worst cases of animal abuse I’ve seen,” said Renee Lancaster, founder of the nonprofit Rotts of Friends Animal Rescue north of Davis, who, with the help of volunteers, is nursing the dog back to health.
Doogie, as he’s been named, was discovered by a motorist Saturday night walking in and out of the roadway along Highway 113 near County Road 27, said Vicky Fletcher of Yolo County Animal Services.
Malnutrition and a diminished immune system have left the 6- to 7-month old pooch virtually hairless, to the point that “we can’t even tell what breed he is,” Lancaster said. He may be a hound or a mastiff.
A Yolo County animal control officer retrieved the dog from the roadside and took him to the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital, where Fletcher said a call was put out to animal rescue groups with a request to take in the ailing dog.
“I said, of course we want him,” Lancaster said.
Doogie arrived at Rotts of Friends on Monday with a heart murmur, inflamed ears and eyes that had been crusted shut, Lancaster said. He weighs roughly 46 pounds, about 25 pounds shy of what would be considered a healthy weight.
Even the organization’s toughest volunteers “have walked in and started crying” at the sight of him, Lancaster said.
Now, he’s receiving daily baths and medication for his various ailments. Volunteers have donated sweaters to warm his hairless body, and he’s eating five small meals a day to build up his weight.
“Already he’s perked up,” Lancaster said. Doogie will require several months of intensive care, but “if the right home comes along, he’s very adoptable.”
Citizens are invited to pay a visit to Doogie, donate toward his ongoing care or watch YouTube videos of his progress on the Rotts of Friends website, rottsoffriends.com, which features a PayPal link for tax-deductible contributions.
Lancaster believes someone out there knows details about Doogie’s past. Anyone with information that could help law-enforcement officers make an arrest is urged to call Yolo County Animal Services at 530-668-5287 or Rotts of Friends at 530-661-0213.
Contact information would be required to obtain the reward, but Lancaster said callers’ identities will be protected.
“This dog had to have been shut up in someone’s yard or basement for months to look like this,” Lancaster said. “A few more days and I’m sure he would be dead.”
— Reach Lauren Keene at email@example.com or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter @laurenkeene