Pup with third-degree burns found in Coachella Valley dumpster, $10,000 reward for info on perpetrator

Pup with third-degree burns found in Coachella Valley dumpster, $10,000 reward for info on perpetrator
(Source : Getty Images)

A puppy was found inside a plastic bag in a Coachella Valley dumpster, the second such incident in the area in less than a month. Devastated animal advocates in California are looking for answers after they found the dog badly burned with part of her tail hacked off, People reports.

A rescue agency at Sherman Oaks has been caring for the two-week-old pit bull mix since the heartbreaking discovery. They have since offered a $10,000 reward for anyone who can help them track the perpetrator who dumped the helpless pup.

Speaking to People, Alejandra Espinoza Zazueta said her mother noticed some clients rummaging through a dumpster outside her Coachella store. Zazueta said her mother was shocked when they pulled out a plastic Walmart bag holding a crying little pup, who has now been renamed Hope for “the fighter that she is.”

What made the discovery disturbing was that it was the second time a passerby discovered a bag containing puppies inside a Coachella dumpster. Last month, Deborah Sue Culwell allegedly dumped seven puppies in a closed plastic bag into another dumpster.


Hope was found to be covered in third-degree burns on her skin from her mid-waist down to her back legs, the outlet reported.

Zazueta immediately called the Sheriff’s Department and Animal Control to report the incident. She knew Hope needed medical attention and so she took her to a local vet.

“[Hope] smelled awful and we found out that her skin was completely rotten on her back,” Zazueta explains. “They had to surgically remove it.”


The injured canine was transferred to Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Sherman Oaks, owing to the cost of the pup's continued treatment.

“I was hauling my butt to Los Angeles, trying to get her there as fast as I could because her medication was going to expire within two hours,” Zazueta said. “She did suffer a little to get there, but once she did, she was taken care of immediately.”


Responding medics from McGrath Veterinary Center determined that Hope's critical burns were mostly intentional. Brian McGrath, who owns the center, told People they were caused either by contact with heated objects or "corrosive chemicals."

“She had severe burns covering about 30 percent of her body causing her skin to slough off,” he said. “This type of injury is caused either by a severe thermal burn or exposure to corrosive chemicals.”


“She is still very weak,” he added. “At this stage, she is prone to infection so she needs daily wound management as well as fluids antibiotics and pain medication. So far, she has been responding fantastically to treatment and after a long road, we expect a full recovery.”

Hope is currently recovering from her injuries at an intensive care unit with 24-hour monitoring. Zazueta informed Thursday morning that she was doing much better.


However, there is a chance the puppy may be paralyzed as her back legs still have little to no movement. 

“We’re completely fine with that, we are more than willing to take her in,” Zazueta explained to the outlet, saying she may get her a wheelchair if required. 

“She has a home and we’re waiting for her eagerly,” Zazueta added. “We have everything [for her], we’re ready, and we’re just waiting for the day that they call us and say we can go pick her up.”


That said, Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation is still on the lookout to find the person responsible for Hope's condition. It has announced the aforementioned $10,000 reward for any definitive help offered.

“We will do everything we can to hold whoever did this accountable, but will need the public’s help,” the site reads.

Zazueta told People she couldn't digest how someone could do this to a defenseless puppy.


“It’s cruel, I honestly don’t understand how a person could do this to defenseless little puppies,” she said. “I am mind-boggled and distraught and furious that this is what happened.”

“I just want [Hope] to feel loved, that is all I want,” Zazueta added, her eyes wet. “I want her to know that a lot of people care about her and she is safe with me and I can promise her that it won’t ever happen to her ever again.”


Share this article:

 Pup covered third-degree burns found Coachella Valley dumpster