OAKLAND -- Advocates for animals are offering an $18,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person who dumped a severely abused and infected German shepherd at the city's animal shelter last week.

The dog was so badly dehydrated and emaciated that her organs were beginning to shut down, according to David Cronin, the interim director of Oakland Animal Services. She also had a seven-foot chain and cord wrapped around her neck and legs so tightly that it had embedded into her skin, creating deep wounds that had become badly infected and riddled with maggots, he added.

Marla, a severely abused German shepherd turned into Oakland’s animal shelter last week, was euthanized.  (Oakland Animal Services)
Marla, a severely abused German shepherd turned into Oakland's animal shelter last week, was euthanized. (Oakland Animal Services)

On a veterinarian's recommendation, the dog was euthanized several hours after she was found. A necropsy showed that she had been eating sticks and dirt in an effort to stay alive. Marlo, as she was named by the shelter staff, also had bones protruding through her skin, Cronin said.

"She was truly rotting," said Cronin, a retired Oakland police sergeant who has worked as interim shelter director four times over the last decade, adding that this was one of the worse cases of abuse he has ever seen. "It was a brutally sad case."

Cronin said the dog was about six or seven years old and was dumped, in a crate, about midnight on May 30. Dark and grainy video surveillance footage from outside the shelter shows a thin Asian man between 35 and 40 years old with dark, straight shoulder-length hair setting the newly purchased animal crate down on the cement in front of the shelter and walking away.


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Cronin said he is following several investigative leads, adding that "(the person that left the crate) is the first person I need to speak with, though he may not be the suspect."

Oakland Animal Services officials are hoping that anyone -- a neighbor or passerby -- who saw the dog at some point can lead police to the abuser. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime. An additional $8,000 has come from Pet Food Express, Friends of Oakland Animal Services, the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and others.

Interest in the case could continue to increase the reward. Cronin said he has received about 150 phone calls from people wanting to learn more about the story and help, from Texas, Alabama, New York, Florida and England.

"Human beings seem to be intolerant of people who abuse children and animals," he said

Anyone with information about this case should call the Oakland Police Department at 510-777-3333. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

Reach Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.