BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Authorities believe someone sprayed a 16-week-old Jack Russell Terrier with lighter fluid before setting it on fire. News 4 found the woman who discovered the puppy.
Warning: you may find the included video and attached photos disturbing.
Mary Baldwin lives on Herman Street, and Monday night, she could not believe what she was seeing out her kitchen window.
"It was burning... it was burning," she said.
Baldwin thought burning paper was rolling across a vacant lot next to her home. But then she saw the paws and realized it was an animal.
"He probably wondered: What did I do to deserve this? What did I do?" said Baldwin.
Firefighters responded, wrapped the puppy in a blanket, and took him to the Buffalo Small Animal Hospital. Dr. Rebecca Wagner treated the puppy, which has third degree burns over 30 percent of its lower body.
"It had a smell to it, an odor to it. And the dog was singed really from head to toe," she said.
The puppy sat quietly Tuesday. Doctors say he may still be in shock. He's being pumped full of fluids and pain killers. The dog's ears are "crinkled," its hair is singed, its lips are swollen, and it struggles to keep its puffy eyes open.
Dr. Wagner said, "He's quite critical, so we're going to have to wait and see how he's responding to the treatment and change the medication as needed."
The thought of someone deliberately setting the animal on fire pains Mary Baldwin to her core.
"I feel like if I were a dog, a mother, I would be wondering where my baby is. And if I knew that it was burning, I'd want to know why. Why would my baby be burning?" Baldwin wondered.
Even Dr. Wagner, who's seen her share of tough cases, can't help but wonder.
"How could somebody do this, honestly. It's just a terrible situation," she questioned.
It's a situation that haunts Baldwin.
"I will never, ever, as long as I live forget that. No, I won't. I will not ever."
There are some positive signs. Dr. Wagner says the puppy looked better Tuesday and is eating food. It will be a day-by-day situation, and the next five to seven days will be critical in its recovery.
The ownership of the dog is still unclear. Buffalo Police have not named any suspects in this case and have not made any arrests.
If you have any information, you're asked to call the police confidential tip line at 847-2255. You can also call the animal shelter at 851-5694.
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