NEWPORT, Tenn. — A North Carolina rescue group working to save a puppy found in Cocke County with chemical burns says her injuries were worse than they thought.

The puppy, named Hope, was taken in by Brother Wolf Animal Rescue.

The rescue posted what they called a difficult update on its Facebook page on Sunday. 

"Hope successfully made it through a lengthy surgery on Friday. Unfortunately, the injuries are more severe than our medical team had originally anticipated. Her skin is still in the “sloughing”process that can last 7-12 days after injury. This means she can continue to decline over the next week. She is still receiving 24-hour a day personal care from our staff vet, Dr. Megan. Please keep Hope in your thoughts as she fights to recover from this horrible tragedy.

Original story

Animal lovers are uniting around a tiny puppy that a Cocke County shelter says was found covered in chemical burns.

According to a Facebook post from the Friends Animal Shelter of Cocke County, the 2-month old puppy, now named Hope, was found in a garbage bag. 

"This poor sweet girl was found in a garbage bag, left for death after the cruelty she endured. Her tongue is burnt, her ear is completely burnt, her entire belly is nothing but burns. She can't sit down," said the post.

Facebook post about abused puppy Hope
Friends Animal Shelter of Cocke Co.

Strangely, her nails had been painted by someone at some point.

"Being a puppy, all she knew was fear, and you couldn't even touch her without her screaming in pain," Friends Animal Shelter Director Elisha Henry said. "It was awful." 

Henry said she believes someone did this to Hope and she was left for dead. 

A police report was filed with the Newport Police Department. The department is investigating the incident, saying they were told the puppy's injuries were apparently 'accidental.'

Newport Police say the puppy was given to a girl at a Newport restaurant by someone she knows. 

Police say the person asked the girl to give them money or care for the puppy herself. 

Police say the girl took the puppy to a local veterinarian's office after realizing she couldn't care for it.

A veterinarian with the practice who was there when the puppy arrived said she believes the injuries could be from dragging or from chemical burns. 

Police say the person who brought the puppy to the girl supposedly told her that the injuries were the result of an accident, and that they could not care for the puppy or afford professional care. 

Police say the injuries did not happen in Newport. 

Not the first animal abuse report

This isn't the first time Henry has involved law enforcement when animals have come to her shelter. 

Since becoming director a few months ago, she has filed three police reports for at least four dogs, including Hope and another dog, Keys, about three weeks ago. 

"We found out that he had been stabbed with some object, which the vet most likely called was a pitch fork, six to eight inches deep," Henry said. 

Keys is recovering and got his stitches removed Thursday, and is being treated for heart worms. 

According to another police report dated Feb. 27, a Cocke County Sheriff's deputy found a dog shot and thrown on the side of Industrial Road. The report says an anonymous citizen took the dog to Cedarwood Veterinary Hosptial, who said they had to put the dog down. 

In December, the former manager of the Friends Animal Shelter was arrested for an animal cruelty charge. 

Law enforcement is aware of the reports. 

"We are working these cases and looking into these cases, making every effort in order to prosecute them," said Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes. "But it's going to come down to the public being able to provide information." 

The shelter contacted Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in North Carolina which immediately took Hope and is now working to save her life.

The Rescue is planning for Hope to have surgery on Friday, to remove her ear and part of her tongue. 

They've started a fundraiser for Hope's care. They posted on their Facebook page that "Hope’s treatment will include pain medication, antibiotics, topical ointments, wound flushes, and a surgery later this week to remove necrotic tissue from her ear and tongue."

 As if 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, the group had already surpassed its $2000 fundraising goal for Hope's care.

In a Facebook live interview with the vet who is caring for hope. they said Hope had started eating on Thursday, which is a great sign. She will mostly heal from her wounds, though she will likely lose part of an ear.

Brother Wolf said that they already have someone lined up to adopt Hope as soon as she's recovered enough to go home.