Dog Set on Fire in 'Sickening' Act of Animal Cruelty

Police in DeKalb County, Georgia, have issued an appeal for information that could lead to the arrest of an individual who set a dog on fire in shocking case of animal cruelty.

The authorities told WSB-TV that a tan-and-cream Labradoodle was discovered "engulfed in flames" on Lindsey Drive in Decatur on Sunday morning.

Several witnesses came to the aid of the dog before contacting the authorities.

Though the animal survived the horrific incident, he remains in a critical condition under the care of a local dog rescue charity.

DeKalb County police are continuing to search for the person responsible while Crime Stoppers USA is offering a reward for anyone providing information that leads to an arrest.

Speaking to the news outlet, one local resident, Shallissa Dufresne, described the incident as "sickening" adding that it was "disheartening" to think "anyone could do that to a living, breathing thing."

She is now calling for whoever was behind the attack to be punished to the full extent of the law.

"You had the intent to harm or kill this defenseless animal, so now you need to get the time or punishment coming to you," Dufresne said.

Meanwhile, the badly burned dog, who has been named Will in recognition of his incredible courage to survive even this long, has been taken in by Dog Days Rescue, a small, non-profit rescue center servicing Atlanta and the surrounding area.

In a series of updates posted to the Dog Days Rescue Facebook page, Will's carers said they expect him to be hospitalized "for quite some time."

"He's on as many pain medications as safely possible, he's on strong antibiotics and other IV medications. He's also been covered in silver cream. Silver is amazing for things like burns," they said.

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Since then, Will has undergone the first of many debridements, which involves the removal of necrotic skin and cleaning underneath. This process is a daily requirement of his ongoing treatment with the rescue center warning "things will get worse before they get better."

According to one post, they also discovered "what appear to be scars from old wounds" indicating that the dog has "been abused for quite a while."

Despite this, they reported that Will was "in good spirits" during their last visit to hospital and "clearly wants to cuddle" which suggests the pain medication is working.

While the carers at Dog Days Rescue are going above and beyond to help support his recovery, with treatment likely to cost a minimum of $5,000 they have launched an appeal calling for donations from the public.

Anyone wishing to support the cause can do so here.

Though rare, incidents of animal cruelty involving dogs have been reported across several states over the past few months.

In November, animal rescuers in Liberty County, Texas found the bodies of two dogs that had seemingly been beaten and shot dead. A third dog, which had also been beaten but was alive, was discovered alongside them.

In September, an Ohio man was also arrested after shooting dead his dog despite initially telling police the animal "shot itself."

A labradoodle dog.
Stock image of a labradoodle - a dog matching this description suffered life-threatening burns after being set alight in Georgia. Viktor plazzeriano/Getty