OGDEN -- A severely burned 8-year-old Chihuahua found in an Ogden-area campsite fire pit has died from the injuries.
The female dog known as Hope sustained burns to more than 25 percent of her body, mainly on the limbs and belly, and died early on July 4.
"Her body just couldn't handle all the stress," said Dr. Kathryn Penrod, veterinarian with Brookside Animal Hospital in Ogden.
Penrod said the dog was experiencing low protein levels and a high amount of stress.
Police are still trying to determine whether someone threw the dog into the fire pit or whether she fell.
"We're having a hard time determining anything," Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther said.
A woman found the dog in a South Fork Canyon area campsite fire pit around June 20, but the incident wasn't reported to authorities until June 28, Lowther said.
"It makes a difficult case, much more difficult. It certainly complicates it," Lowther said, referring to the time lapse between when the dog was found and the time the incident was reported.
Compounding matters is the woman who found the dog in the fire pit has been difficult to contact, Lowther said.
Penrod declined to speculate whether the animal was thrown or fell into the fire pit. But with either scenario, the dog was abandoned and the severity of the burns was devastating, she said.
"I suspect it was thrown into the fire pit based on the height of the fire pit wall," said Nicole Hellstrom, director of True Hearts Rescue Shelter of Ogden.
The pit wall where the dog was discovered is about 12 inches high, Hellstrom said. She said the height of the wall reduces the likelihood that the dog accidentally fell into the pit.
"I have never seen anything like this (in the way of injuries) in a domestic animal before," said Hellstrom, whose rescue group provided foster care for the dog after hospital hours.
Some of their duties included feeding the dog and giving it oral medications, she said.
Despite the dog's death, a $1,400 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the animal abuse is still being offered, Hellstrom said.
Those with information can contact the Weber County Sheriff's Office at 801-629-8221, or True Hearts Rescue Shelter at 801-643-9622.
Those wishing to make a donation toward Hope's medical costs can visit http://ogdenfourpawsrescue.chipin.com/hope-the-burn-victim