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County investigating chemical attack on Loomis family's dog

Labrador retriever suffers third-degree burns
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Placer County Animal Services is conducting an investigation after a Loomis dog suffered third-degree chemical burns. According to Tim Goffa, animal services senior supervising officer, his department is contacting potential witnesses as part of their investigation. 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. The family who owns the dog believes someone came onto their property off of Val Verde Lane between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., on Sunday, Sept. 27 and Monday, Sept. 28, and burned their dog with caustic chemicals. “It was so malicious. It was such a shock to the kids,” said Jackie Bartolucci. Chloe, a 3-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. A similar incident occurred this past July when 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 and sprayed chemicals on Betsy, their pet burro. Goffa said his department investigated the burro incident, but could find no witnesses or anyone with additional information. He said the case has been closed. Bartolucci and her husband, Mike Sierck, together have three children ranging in age from 9 to 13 and moved to their Loomis home this past July. Sierck said they found Chloe vomiting on Sept. 27, and said the pet was lethargic. Dr. Eric Grunder at Rocklin Road Animal Hospital treated her third-degree burns that he said 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 obvious chemical residue on the dog. Bartolucci said the dog did not leave their property and had no access to chemicals or any heat source. Bartolucci said she believes someone came onto their property and poured some type of caustic chemical onto her dog’s back. 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. Grunder said he expects to suture the wounds closed this week, 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 rational 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 initially filed an online report with the Placer County Sheriff’s Department. Lt. Jeffrey Ausnow, Sheriff’s spokesperson, said the department forwarded the report to animal services. “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. CRIMES AGAINST ANIMALS Who: Person committing or permitting an act of animal cruelty Crime: A person maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal Type of crime: Felony or misdemeanor Punishment: Imprisonment in the state prison or county jail for not more than one year, and/or a fine of not more $20,000 Source: California Penal Code Section 597