By: KDKA-TV Digital Content Producer Heather Lang
UPDATE (4/28/2021) — The Tate County Sheriff’s Office in Mississippi says a juvenile has confessed to “purposely injuring” Buddy.
Law enforcement says, “While this terrible act is a felony crime punishable by up to three years in prison, under Mississippi law, no person under the age of 12 can be charged with a crime.”
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A dog is fighting back from the brink of death after he was tortured and his face set on fire.
Buddy the dog is now in the care of the Tunica Humane Society in Mississippi, which is a humane rescue partner with Pittsburgh’s own Animal Lifeline in Homestead.
Buddy’s story has touched the hearts of Animal Lifeline rescuers so deeply, that they have also been sharing updates on his condition. The story though is starting to get attention all around the country.
“Buddy is a fighter. He has shown us that from the very moment he was so cruelly tortured. He is going to come out on the other side of this,” the Tunica Humane Society wrote on their Facebook page.
According to CBS-affiliate WREG-TV in Memphis, Buddy has third- and fourth-degree burns to his face, second-degree burns on his ears and burn damage to his eyes, a veterinarian said. Read WREG’s story by clicking here (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES).
The Tunica Humane Society said he was found “dazed and in shock” and had an electrical extension cord tied around his neck when he was located last Thursday, April 22, on the side of a road.
Thankfully, the rescue has assumed responsibility for Buddy’s care.
Just yesterday, he was transferred from an animal clinic to the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He is expected to spend a month or more there while he undergoes surgery and heals from his extensive wounds.
He is expected to survive, but will likely never be the same.
Officials with the rescue say doctors are working to remove his damaged skin to lower his chances of infection. He has a long road to recovery, but his caretakers told the rescue they hope to treat him with skin grafts “from a certain kind of fish.”
However, the fur on Buddy’s face will mostly likely never grow back.
“He will have a pretty pink, happy face and that’s all that matters,” wrote the shelter.
As for his eyes, the rescue says veterinarians are still unsure what will happen to his vision.
That hasn’t stopped him from giving out kisses though. Video posted by the rescue shows the heavily-bandaged dog giving his caretakers licks and love despite all the horrible moments he has been through.
As Buddy begins the healing process, the search for the person or people who did this to him is ongoing. The Tate County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi is leading the investigation.
A reward for information in the case has just been increased today to $10,200.
“Evil will not win this battle, and justice will prevail for Buddy. We are not going to stop until we find the person that did this to this sweet, innocent dog,” Tunica Humane Society wrote on Facebook.
The rescue is reminding pet owners across the country to never let your pets roam freely. “This could have easily been your dog if you allow your pets to roam freely without supervision. Please think hard about that,” they posted.
Thousands have already donated to help with Buddy’s extensive medical care.
If you would like to learn more about the Tunica Humane Society or make a donation, visit their website here. And you can learn more about their local rescue partner, Animal Lifeline, by clicking here.
They are showing their support for Buddy on Facebook too, posting, “Send good thoughts, kind words and prayers for Buddy and to those caring for him who need to know that Pittsburgh loves them and appreciates.”