Puppies' bee-attack deaths under investigation - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Puppies' bee-attack deaths under investigation

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Photo courtesy County News Center. Photo courtesy County News Center.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Authorities asked the public Friday for help in determining who tied five puppies to a tree underneath a beehive in a North County field last week, leading to the deaths of three of the canines after the insects swarmed and attacked them.

Firefighters found the incapacitated dogs while responding to a small grass fire in the open lot off the 41200 block of De Luz Road in Fallbrook about noon on May 31, according to the county Department of Animal Services.

The Cal Fire crews were able to quickly douse the flames, which scorched a roughly 20- by 20-foot area about 25 feet from where the canines were tied up.

Three 5-month-old puppies died at the scene, DAS Lt. Dan DeSousa said. Two Jack Russell terriers had choked to death, likely as they tried to escape the attacking bees. The third, a Rottweiler, died of unknown causes, according to DeSousa.

The two surviving animals, a Jack Russell mix and a Chihuahua, were in critical condition. The dogs -- named Woody and Buzz, respectively -- have since been receiving "around-the-clock care," DeSousa said.

"Both dogs were stung dozens of times, and due to its critical medical condition, one of the puppies underwent a blood transfusion earlier this week," he said.

Personnel with the county animal-services agency are trying to determine who tied the canines up in the open lot and why. The dogs' owners, a woman and her 16-year-old daughter who live next to the field, have told investigators the animals were in their back yard when they left for work and school that day, according to DeSousa.

The origin of the small vegetation fire also remains under investigation. The blaze definitely was "human caused," but a ruling on whether it was an intentional act of arson is pending, said Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler.

The surviving puppies -- who couldn't even blink their eyes immediately following the bee attack, due to the amount of venom they had absorbed -- have been showing signs of progress, according to DeSousa.

"They were wagging their tails some yesterday, so that's always a good sign," he said Friday afternoon.

Both will have to undergo further medical care before being available for adoption, DeSousa said.

County officials asked anyone with information on the incident to call animals-services personnel at (619) 767-2624.

Anyone interested in helping to pay for the continued care of these puppies can donate to the DAS Spirit Fund.

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