A crowd had gathered around the dog as Alana Garcia approached but it didn’t take long for her to realize the animal was severely injured.
The pit bull’s face, nose, front and back legs were severely burned, said Garcia, who had pulled over for a fire truck on her way into Walmart on Saturday. She could see smoke rising from a wooded area near the on ramp to U.S. 101 from Washington Boulevard, but she and others focused on getting help for the dog.
“I finally heard a man call out, ‘There is a doctor waiting in Brookings right now who can take her,’ and I immediately said I’ll take her,” said Garcia, who named the pit bull Roxy. “My daughter and her friends got in the back and I rushed her up to Brookings with my flashers on. She was in such an excruciating amount of pain, there was blood all over the seat, she vomited in the car. The doctor met me at the door, gave her some morphine and he’s been giving me daily updates.”
Garcia said she brought Roxy to Town and Country Animal Clinic in Brookings.
Although the veterinarian initially gave the pit bull a 70-80 percent chance of surviving her injuries, she was euthanized at 5:50 p.m. Monday, Garcia said.
“She (was) in too much pain,” Garcia said. “Everything they were trying to do for her was just too painful, so they let her go.”
According to Garcia, Roxy’s death may have stemmed from a propane explosion in a homeless encampment near Walmart. She said the dog was “apparently tied to the propane tank.” The dog ran into the store following the explosion, Garcia said. The dog had backed herself into a corner of the building by the time Garcia, her daughter and her daughter’s friend approached the entrance.
“She was running in there for help,” Garcia said of Roxy.
According to Joe Gregorio, duty chief for Crescent City Fire and Rescue, there wasn’t a propane tank explosion, however firefighters responded to a fire at a homeless encampment near Walmart at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
The encampment consisted of boards and tarps that had caught on fire, Gregorio said. The blaze also spread to the surrounding trees and brush, he said.
Gregorio said it took about 10 minutes to knock the fire down and an hour and 45 minutes to “overhaul it.”
When asked about Roxy, Gregorio said he had heard that a dog was injured, that its paws were burnt, but it was already gone by the time firefighters arrived on scene. By that point, someone had taken it to a veterinarian, he said.
“There was no one around the encampment when we arrived on scene with law enforcement,” Gregorio said. “We extinguished the fire. There were no injuries putting the fire out.”
The cause of the fire is unknown at this point, Gregorio said.
According to Undersheriff Bill Steven, after dispatch was notified about the fire, a second call came in from someone stating that “maybe it was a propane tank that exploded and a dog might have been injured.”
“That wasn’t part of an official call on our part,” Steven said Monday. “The Sheriff’s Department didn’t respond to any type of event like that.”
Garcia said she shared the pit bull’s story via Facebook and has received donation offers from people. Garcia said she’s also received support from the Humane Society of Del Norte.
Even though Roxy died, donations are still needed to pay for the cost of the care she received and her euthanasia, Garcia said. The bill for her care is about $1,000. Garcia said people can call Town and Country at 541-469-4661 to donate. The staff at the clinic will let folks know if there’s a balance still due for Roxy’s care, Garcia said.
“I feel blessed by this whole community and their support for an animal,” she said.
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org .