RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -- A dog that was tied to a pole and intentionally set on fire is being cared for by Richmond Animal Care and Control and a reward fund has been started to capture the person who did it.
RACC said the dog, a male pit bull, was tied up in Abner Clay Park off Clay Street on Sunday night, covered with a flammable liquid and set on fire.
The dog, which has been named Tommie, suffered burns to more than 40 percent of his body.
Witnesses said a man wearing multiple layers of pants was seen running from the area towards Belvidere Street.
Christie Chipps Peters of RACC says firefighters from Engine 5, which is nearby the park, quickly rushed over to put out the flames.
“They literally opened their bay doors and saw him on fire and ran across the street with their fire extinguishers," she said.
Tommie is about to embark on a long recovery: he is now on a catheter, and his injuries are obstructing even basic functions.
“He doesn’t want to eat because the inside of his mouth is burned so severely," Chipps Peters said.
In her 13 years with Animal Control, she said this incident stands out among the rest.
She added, “This one just sort of takes it to a different level of cruelty. There’s just such an evil component to it that’s so senseless.”
The shelter is hoping to save the dog, but said his survival is day to day. If he lives, RACC officials say the recovery will long and expensive, thousands of dollars. They are asking for the public’s help.
RACC posted Monday that donations have poured in since Tommie’s case was made public, and the shelter thinks the cost of all his vet bills has already been covered.
Any money left over after Tommie’s care will go toward other emergency cases the shelter takes in.
RACC posted, however, that it is not a given Tommie will survive.
Additionally a reward fund has been started for information about the person who set him on fire. Donations can be made online. Put REWARD in the notes field to have your money go toward that fund. As of Tuesday morning, the reward was $2,500.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.
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