KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A dog found abandoned near a dumpster by Knoxville Police Department Animal Control officers has died.

After being found, the dog was taken to Young-Williams Animal Center where she was named Bridget. The shelter said her condition and medical needs were severe when she arrived on March 5. While under the care of the shelter’s veterinary team, Bridget was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.

Police are still searching for information on how Bridget ended up being abandoned. The East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips leading to the arrest of the person responsible.

“We’re deeply saddened to announce that Bridget has crossed the rainbow bridge,” says Janet Testerman, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “We hope you will find comfort, as we do, in knowing that during her time here Bridget knew she was cared for and loved. Her tail wagged often, and we gave her all of the affection we could in such a short time.”

“This is a terribly sad situation, and we were devastated to hear that Bridget’s health deteriorated so rapidly after it initially seemed like she was responding well to treatment. It’s truly heartbreaking news,” said Scott Erland with Knoxville Police.

Staff at the shelter say they are heartbroken by Bridget’s death. They are pleading for owners to reach out early if they need help caring for an animal as the shelter can help. Young-Williams said if you need help contact pethelp@young-williams.org or call 865-363-6702.

“We have been overwhelmed by the kind, supportive and loving messages, calls and emails from the community asking how to help,” Testerman says. “Thank you to everyone who reached out. Your support has gotten our team through a tough two weeks, and your shared love of Bridget makes all the difference.”

Bridget’s care was provided by the Animal Compassion Fund, which helps purchase medical equipment and treatment for pets that are not ready for adoption due to a medical condition or behavioral problem. For those who wish to learn more or donate to the fund, visit young-williams.org/compassion-fund.

“Bridget’s loss has hit us hard,” Testerman says. “You can spend a lifetime in animal welfare, but you still give each pet a little piece of your heart, and every loss feels as if it were a family member.”

The shelter has placed a small memorial in honor of Bridget outside of the shelter for the public to pay their respects.

(Photo via Young Williams Animal Center)

If you have a tip, call 865-215-7165, go online at www.easttnvalleycrimestoppers.org, via the free mobile app, P3 Tips, or on the East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers Facebook page. Tipsters can remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward.