A severely injured pit bull that a shelter veterinarian believed had been dragged behind a car instead jumped out a passenger-side window, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies said after investigating the emotional, high-profile case for several days, concluding it was a "tragic accident and not a criminal act."
Here is the complete text of the sheriff's office news release, issued late Thursday:
"An in-depth investigation was conducted by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division regarding the male pit bull that was found injured on Smith Rock Way on Monday morning, July 22nd, 2013.
"Based on that investigation, it was determined that this was tragic accident and not a criminal act. During the investigation, it was determined that the dog jumped out the passenger-side window of the vehicle as it was traveling down Smith Rock Way, without the knowledge of the driver.
"At the time this accident occurred, Chance’s actual owner was not in physical custody of the dog. All contacted parties were very cooperative in the investigation and everyone involved wishes nothing but the best for Chance.
"The Deschutes County DA’s Office has been consulted during the investigation; no criminal citations have been issued. All reports will be submitted to the DA’s Office for a final review.
"Chance is doing well in the care of BrightSide Shelter in Redmond. Over $5,000 in donations have been received towards his current and future care, with donations coming from as far away as Australia and the United Kingdom.
"An earlier media report of the dog being tied to the bumper of a vehicle at a store in Terrebonne was erroneous, and was never any part of the overall investigation.
"No additional information regarding this case will be released."
BrightSide Animal Center officials said in a news release update Friday that Chance survived the night and was able to stand, eat and drink. Catheters also have been removed.
Executive Director Chris Bauersfeld said his "condition has improved somewhat, but he is not out of the woods," with weeks and months of recovery ahead - if he survives.
Another long procedure under anesthesia was planned Friday.
The shelter expressed gratitude for contributions from across Central Oregon and as far away as England, Australia and Russia.
But as for the sheriff's office's investigation, BrightSide said in that it would have no comment, as their focus is on caring for Chance medically.
Chance, as the Redmond shelter named him, underwent a procedure Wednesday to remove dead skin, officials said.
Because he requires round-the-clock care, Bauersfeld has been taking him home with her overnight.
"Chance made it through another procedure to remove dead skin, a bandage change of all of his bandages on all four legs, his torso, and shoulder area," Bauersfeld said Thursday. "He survived the procedure and the night. He had a good appetite and drank water on his own."
Chance still faces more surgery and a long recovery period if he survives. BrightSide said it is grateful for the many donations received in recent days to offset the high cost of his care.
Donations can be made online at http://brightsideanimals.org/donations/contributions/ or checks can be mailed to BrightSide Animal Center, 1355 NE Hemlock Ave., Redmond OR 97756, or call 541-923-0882.
BrightSide Animal Center on Tuesday took in and treated the neutered male black-and-white pit bull, discovered Monday by Deschutes County sheriff's deputies on Smith Rock Way in Terrebonne.
The dog was taken to a local veterinary clinic to house until it could be transferred to BrightSide on Tuesday when the shelter opened.
BrightSide’s veterinarian, Dr. Cheryl Byrd, is an experienced emergency veterinarian and has seen prior cases such as this one, but said this is the worst one she had ever seen.
The dog’s extensive injuries are life-threatening and it is not known at this time if the dog will recover, the center said.
Byrd performed the first surgery Tuesday to try to help the dog, but he is facing multiple surgeries, as well as a long post-operative recovery period -- if he is able to survive the next few days.
"About two-thirds of the dog's body was burned, scraped and horrifically injured from being dragged." the shelter reported Wednesday.
The local nonprofit 31Paws agreed to match the first $2,500 in donations received.