The first surveillance image has been released that may help police find whoever left a badly burned 2-year-old pit bull to die in an alley during the Fourth of July weekend.
Los Angeles police announced Tuesday they are looking for a man who was seen yanking the dog by his collar out of the bed of a white pick-up truck, pictured below.
The dog was left for dead July 4 in an alley between Kittridge and Hamlin streets in Winnetka, according to LAPD. He was rescued the next day.
Veterinarians said the pit bull likely was strapped with fireworks and lit ablaze, then abandoned.
He was named Indy (short for Independence) in a nod to both the holiday on which he was rescued, and his “freedom from those who hurt him,” according to S.T.A.R.T., a rescue group that started Indy on his long road to recovery.
A witness confronted the man who dropped Indy in the alley, but the driver fled. His truck is described as a white Toyota pick-up with dark stripes on the side, large off-road tires, a sunroof and small extra-cab window. A witness spotted a toolbox in the truck bed.
The truck’s model year is unknown, but investigators believe it might be a late-80s model.
Rescuers are offering a $15,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever hurt the dog.
Called "sweet and gentle" by rescuers, Indy has undergone a series of surgeries at Westlake Village Animal Hospital.
Dr. Daniel Slaton, with Westlake Village Animal Hospital, said he has never seen a dog with such severe burns. Slaton called on well-known burn specialist and animal advocate Dr. Richard Grossman, founder of the Grossman Burn Center, to help with Indy's surgery.
Indy’s horrific story has garnered numerous headlines – and a lot of love for the still-recovering pup.
Even comedian Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi visited Indy at Westlake Animal Hospital last week. Pictures of the special visit were posted to S.T.A.R.T.’s Facebook page with this encouraging message: Indy “gave everyone TONS of kisses to let us know he is on the mend.”
So many dog lovers have expressed interest in adopting Indy, S.T.A.R.T. likely will hold a "meet and greet" when the pup is healthy enough for adoption, a timeline for which isn't available yet. He still has several weeks of recovery left, according to Rene Ruston, spokeswoman for the group.
Anyone with information about the pick-up truck or its driver is urged to call the LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force at 213-486-0450. Tips can also be called into 1-877-LAPD-24-7. They can be left anonymously by calling 1-800-222-TIPS.
Anyone interested in donating to Indy’s recovery fund can click here to give, or mail a check to:
PO Box 4792
Valley Village, CA 91617
The organization notes that donations should be sent as "Personal and Gift so no charges are taken out, and kindly write INDY in the memo."
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