ELKHART – The death of a young Elkhart dog is getting national attention.

Last Friday, July 5, someone threw lit fireworks at a pit bull. Elkhart County Humane Society Director Anne Reel says the female dog picked up a firework in her mouth, and the firework exploded.

It happened in the 1200 block of S. Main St.

Reel says the dog’s face was so badly destroyed, she had to be euthanized.

Now, the Humane Society of the United States is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the tragic act.

Reel believes the dog was less than a year old.

“This defenseless puppy suffered a terrifying and painful death, and there is absolutely no excuse for such a depraved act of cruelty,” said Erin Huang, the HSUS Indiana state director. “We hope that this reward will bring forward anyone with information about this heinous crime.”

The Elkhart Police Department is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call (574) 295-7070.

According to the HSUS, dogs, pit bull-type dogs, in particular, are the most common victims of animal cruelty. Of the some 2,000 cruelty cases reported in the media in 2007, 1,212 involved dogs, 337 involved cats, and 470 involved other animals.

Reported abuse against pit bull-type dogs appears to be on the rise. In 2007, they were involved in 25% of reported dog abuse cases.