A dog who was covered in gasoline and purposely set on fire in Memphis, Tennessee, is receiving an outpouring of support from people around the world. Good Samaritans in the Memphis neighborhood came to the dog’s rescue after they saw her engulfed in flames on June 20, WHBQ reported.
“So I come bolting outside, and I see this dog in flames; all you see is a big flame,” neighbor Ashlie Craft told WHBQ. “It was the worst sight, probably, you really seen in your life.”
Craft and other neighbors ran over to the dog, now named Riona, and doused her in water. Craft said she used water from her pool. “My pool had water in it at the time, and what I did, I just grabbed the bucket, filled it up with water, and ran over there,” she described.
Riona was rushed to Tails of Hope Dog Rescue who took her to Bluff City Veterinary Specialists for treatment of her burns, which over 60 percent of her body. Rescuers say she will have a long road of recovery ahead of her but they are reassuring people that “she is doing very well” after several weeks of medical care.
The rescue shared on Facebook on July 9 that Riona will get “the first of several skin grafts should start next week, beginning with her face.” They said that, “Thanks to the wonderful care of Mallory and everyone at Bluff City she avoided infections and is healing great!”
They also said that Memphis Police Department is investigating the incident, but that these investigations take time. The rescue and concerned citizens are offering a cash reward of $20,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person/persons responsible for attacking Riona.
Riona’s rescue is also getting a lot of attention on social media, something the rescue and veterinarians caring for her hope helps raises awareness about the terrible harm of animal abuse. Tails of Hope Dog Rescue posted a video of Riona to TikTok under @Justice4Riona and it quickly got millions of views.
@justice4riona Humans covered her in gas and set her on fire. She was running down the street covered in flames. Yet all she wants to do is to love on everybody! Share her story! #justice4riona #tailsofhopedogrescue #dogsoftiktok #dogrescue #shareherstory ♬ Surrender – Natalie Taylor
“It’s definitely blown up more than we expected,” Mallory McLemore, a vet tech with Bluff City Veterinary Specialists, told WHO13. “We were talking to each other that if a thousand people saw it, that would be good to get the word out about what’s going on and happening to her, but within eight to 10 hours, there were hundreds of thousands of people who had seen it.”
Riona has also been receiving gifts, donations, and letters from around the globe. She is currently cuddling with a teddy bear someone sent her. McLemore said, “She’s definitely starting to blossom, she wants to roll around in the grass and play and do things like that. And somebody sent her a teddy bear, so she was squeaking on that earlier.”
Riona’s rescuers are also hoping all the attention Riona is getting helps lead to the person(s) responsible for the horrific act. Anyone with information about the attack on Riona can call CrimeStoppers at (901) 528-CASH.