MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG)– A dog doused with gasoline and set on fire in a Memphis neighborhood is getting worldwide attention thanks to her TikTok videos and colorful bandages.
People from all over the world, including Paris Hilton, have been sharing Riona’s story. One of the dog’s first TikTok videos has already gotten nearly 3 million views.
“It’s definitely blown up more than we expected,” said Mallory McLemore, a vet tech with Bluff City Veterinary Specialists. “We were talking to each other that if a thousand people saw it, that would be good to get the word out about what’s going on and happening to her, but within eight to 10 hours, there were hundreds of thousands of people who had seen it.”
Riona was rescued by Tails of Hope Dog Rescue but is being treated at Bluff City Veterinary Specialists. The dog has burns on over 60% of her body and will begin getting skin grafts next week.
McLemore said Riona’s bandages have to be changed daily, and they have been having fun making them as playful as possible. On the Fourth of July, the one-year-old pup was wrapped up in red, white, and blue.
“We are trying to make her look pretty,” McLemore said. “I know people say she doesn’t know, but we like to see her looking cute.”
McLemore said strangers have been sending her presents, and cards from well-wishers line the inside of her cage at the animal hospital.
“We actually posted a video this morning to see where people had seen her from. There was somebody from Ukraine, Greece, and Denmark. All kinds of places.” she said.
McLemore and Tails of Hope Dog Rescue are also hoping all the attention will raise more awareness about animal abuse and get some justice for Riona.
Tails of Hope said reward money for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the people responsible rose to $16,000 after someone made a $10,000 pledge this week.
“We are really hoping, at the very least, if somebody knows something, they will come forward. That’s a lot of money,” said McLemore.
The rescue group is also selling Riona t-shirts to help pay for the dog’s medical expenses.
If you know anything about what happened to Riona, you can email tips to email@example.com or call CrimeStoppers at (901) 528-CASH.