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A puppy is recovering after being found in a burning dumpster

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The puppy is sitting on a layer of trash, huddled in the corner of a fenced-in dumpster in northern Minnesota. His back is charred and black, from the bottom of his ears down to his hind legs, from a fire that had been raging inside.

But Phoenix – as the little survivor is now named –was rescued from the Redby, Minnesota dumpster and is now recovering 250 miles south at a rehabilitation center in Minneapolis.

But many people, from the driver who found Phoenix to his current caretakers, believe the fire was not an accident.

(Note: Some of the photos below might be considered difficult to look at, so please keep that in mind if you continue reading.)

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How Phoenix was discovered

Phoenix was found Friday at the Redby dumpster by pickup driver Clayton Van Wert, howling and trying to get out, according to a post by Red Lake Rosie's.

Read his interview with the Star Tribune, where he talks about how he found and comforted the puppy – and explains why he believes it wasn't an accident.

Van Wert called the DNR, and a police officer took the burnt pup to Red Lake Rosie's Rescue, the shelter wrote on its website. From there, they called ACT V Rescue & Rehabilitation in Minneapolis, and Phoenix was taken to the center Saturday.

The 5-month-old's condition was not good.

He was dehydrated and malnourished, Rosie's wrote, and lay on a blanket that smelled like gasoline.

At ACT V, Phoenix was shaved to gauge his injuries, the rehab center wrote.

"His knees and two of his feet seem to be burned the worst. He has two coats on for warmth but obviously, he is painful.

One other note: He ... appeared nearly starved to death. He only weighs 19 pounds."

Karen Good, founder of Red Lake Rosie's Recuse, wrote on Facebook she reached out to the Humane Society about a possible reward for information leading to answers about how Phoenix was left there.

"Someone knows who did this," she said.

The Star Tribune says he will need skin grafts and other treatment over the next few months. You can donate at the Act V website.

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