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‘He really saved that dog’s life’: Officer rescues badly sunburned pooch

Updated September 14, 2023 - 7:12 pm

The large white dog on the balcony was badly sunburned. She stared blankly through bloodshot eyes and wobbled from side to side while drooling heavily.

With no shade and the mercury pushing 101 degrees, the pit bull mix had been trying to jump off the balcony. Obviously suffering in the heat, she threw up some bile.

To one Las Vegas police officer, enough was enough.

“This is when I decided to jump up onto and into the balcony to tend to the dog that was clearly neglected and required immediate medical attention,” Officer Ariel Sally wrote in a Metropolitan Police Department arrest report.

All of these details, from the report, outline the allegations against a 23-year-old Las Vegas woman who is now facing a felony animal cruelty charge for putting the dog, who was later identified as Sasha, in what police and animal control workers said was a life-threatening situation.

That woman, Tammy Shumate, was remorseful and admitted she had messed up, police said in the report.

“She advised that this was a lesson learned,” the report said.

Clark County spokesperson Erik Pappa said Thursday that Sasha was in stable condition. When she was picked up by Animal Protection Services officers, the dog was sunburned and “dealing with lesions/papules throughout its coat, most likely caused by some type of irritant or allergy.”

Pappa also released a photo of the dog.

Sasha, a severely sunburned dog who was rescued by a Metro officer from an east Las Vegas apart ...
Sasha, a severely sunburned dog who was rescued by a Metro officer from an east Las Vegas apartment balcony on Sept. 9, 2023, is seen in the care of Clark County Animal Protection Services in a photo provided by Clark County spokesperson Erik Pappa on Sept. 14, 2023. (Courtesy)

According to the arrest report, a person in the two-story Casa Vegas apartment complex at 1405 Vegas Valley Drive, near Maryland Parkway and East Desert Inn Road, called Metro late Saturday afternoon to report a dog that looked like it was burnt and was trying to leap off the balcony. The dog had no water or shade.

The caller, who was frantic, tried knocking on the dog owner’s door, to no avail.

Sally and Officer Brandon Young arrived shortly after 6 p.m. The officers could see that the dog, which appeared to be a pitbull, was in distress.

When Sally got onto the balcony, the dog was friendly. Her water bowl was empty. Young and some neighbors provided cold water to give to her. Sally noted in the report that the dog was hot to the touch and that her skin under her fur was “abundantly red” from her head to her tail.

“The red was clearly apparent that it was from a severe sunburn,” Sally wrote. “I began to give the dog water and respond with heat stroke tending measures by pouring water on the dog.”

Police called the Clark County Fire Department to help with bringing the dog down from the balcony. Animal Protection Services were also called. An animal control officer determined that the dog was facing life-threatening circumstances, enough to warrant a felony charge.

Shumate told police the animal had been out on the balcony for an hour. Police, who had been at the scene for over an hour by the point, told her this couldn’t be true. It was unclear how long the dog had actually been out there.

Sasha was taken to the Animal Emergency Center of Las Vegas and Henderson, while Shumate was booked in at the Clark County Detention Center.

Under the care of Animal Protection Services, Sasha will be released to the Animal Foundation, where it may be put up for adoption, Pappa said in an email Thursday.

“Unless there is a court order from a judge, the dog will not be released to her,” Pappa said about the dog’s owner.

A request to interview Sally was declined by Metro.

During the ordeal, according to the arrest report, the animal control officer relayed to a Metro detective a text message: “He really saved that dog’s life.”

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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