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Pet dog suffers third-degree burns

Family believes trespasser caused acid burns
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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A Loomis family believes someone came onto their property recently and burned their dog with caustic chemicals. Chloe, a three-year-old Labrador retriever, is being treated for serious burns that cover one-third to one-half of her back – burns so severe that in places all layers of skin were destroyed. Chloe is owned by the Sierck family, who moved to a quiet lane off of Val Verde Road this past July. “It was so malicious. It was such a shock to the kids,” said Jackie Bartolucci. The Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills has offered a three thousand dollar reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or people who caused the dog's injuries, according to Rosemary Frieborn, a Humane Society volunteer. For more information call (916)765-2938. Bartolucci and her husband, Mike Sierck, together have three children ranging in age from 9 to 13. Sierck said they found Chloe vomiting on Monday, Sept. 27, and said the pet was lethargic. Bartolucci said they did not notice until later that the dog seemed to have a wound on her back and her hair was stiff and standing straight up. When touched, her hair came out in clumps, Sierck said. They took the dog to Rocklin Road Animal Hospital where Dr. Eric Grunder treated her. He said the third-degree burns were either “thermal or chemical burns.” “I can’t imagine how a thermal burn could have happened in this instance,” Grunder said. Grunder said the burns could have been caused by a “splash of chemicals,” such as acid, but said he did not find any chemical residue on the dog. Bartolucci said the dog could not have been burned accidentally because she was on a long line on their property and had no access to chemicals or any heat source. Bartolucci said she believes someone came onto their property sometime between 11 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, and 1 a.m. Monday, and poured some type of caustic chemical onto her dog’s back. “I heard our dogs and all the dogs on the street barking. My dogs were whining. I went out and brought one of the dogs into the garage and tried to quiet them down,” Bartolucci said. Sierck and Bartolucci are now concerned for the safety of their family and other pets. “A person who does that knows what it would do. It’s scary. This person may not limit it to animals,” said Sierck. In the meantime, Bartolucci said, Chloe takes 12 pills a day – an antibiotic to treat the infection, an anti-inflammatory and pain pills. There is also a cream that is applied to the wounds. “She’s been in so much pain it exhausts her,” Bartolucci said. Grunder said he has been cleaning the wound and removing dead tissue on a daily basis. On Tuesday, the vet surgically removed a large amount of dead skin from the dog. Grunder said the infection is his greatest concern. He said he expects to do another surgery on the wounds once the infection is completely gone and all of the dead tissue has been removed. Hayley Sierck, 13, received Chloe as a gift from her grandmother and can find no reason why someone would do this to her pet. “There are just no excuses,” Hayley said. Brent Ahlquist lives across the road from the Sierck family and is perplexed by the incident. “I just don’t get it. I don’t understand how someone could do this,” Ahlquist said. Dave Obert lives down the road and has not yet met the Sierck family, but was disturbed to hear of the animal’s wounds. “My wife is a large-animal veterinarian. We have no tolerance for people abusing animals,” Obert said. Sierck said he filed an online report with the Placer County Sheriff’s Department on Oct. 1. Lt. Jeffrey Ausnow, Sheriff’s spokesperson, said the department has received the report, which was forwarded to Placer County Animal Control for follow-up investigation. “If it is determined that caustic chemicals were in fact thrown on the dog the responsible party could face felony charges for cruelty to animals,” Ausnow said. In a similar incident this past July, a Penryn burro suffered chemical burns to its shoulder and leg. Shannon and Bob McClurg, of Penryn, surmise someone came up to the fence along their 5-acre property during the night of July 13 and sprayed chemicals on Betsy, their pet burro. According to Dale McCoy, who pet-sits for the McClurgs, Betsy is now almost fully recovered from her wounds.