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Oscar, Thrown in a Dumpster and Left for Dead

posted on Friday, November 9, 2018 in News

UPDATE (11/28/18): Great news! Oscar is being adopted by Tina Updegrove, the ARL ACO responsible for the investigation that led to the arrest of Oscar’s abuser.

Read article (or watch video below):

Derrick Peterson, OscarUPDATE (11/24/18): Thanks to an outstanding investigation by the ARL Animal Control division and tips from the public, in cooperation with the Des Moines Police Department, we are pleased to announce that Derrick Dewayne Peterson has been arrested and charged with animal neglect and abandonment.

UPDATE (11/16/18): The Animal Rescue League’s Animal Control division has identified a person of interest in the case of Oscar, the emaciated dog who was found abandoned in a dumpster. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa is requesting the public’s assistance in locating Derrick Dewayne Peterson. Anyone who has any information on his whereabouts should contact Des Moines non-emergency police dispatch at (515) 283-4811.

UPDATE 11/12/18: News coverage to help find the person responsible:

We Are Iowa, ABC 5 (Click here for article)WHOTv 13 (Click here for article)

KCCI 8 (Click here for article)
Oscar Kcci


It’s unimaginable what happened to Oscar this week. This neglected, emaciated dog was trapped in a kennel and thrown in a dumpster – left for dead. Luckily, the kennel broke open upon impact and Oscar was able to climb to the top of the trash pile, but he was too weak to jump out of the dumpster. All he could do was wait. Eventually, a good Samaritan saw him and rushed him to the ARL for help.

What we saw when Oscar arrived would take your breath away. This dog was a walking skeleton, weighing only 4 lbs. Our veterinarians rushed to his aid.

Oscar Intake Photos

Oscar had zero body fat, loss of muscle mass, hair loss, and intestinal parasites. His fur was stained from being caged in his own filth for a long time.



This didn’t happen overnight. Oscar had been neglected for a while.

He arrived at the ARL just in time. Had it been much longer, he wouldn’t have survived. Over the past several days our medical team has been helping him safely regain weight and begin to return to health. This poor guy was so hungry that once he began having food again, his body immediately responded. In the first 48 hours he regained 25% of his body weight! He is so sweet. He wants to be near people at all times and especially loves being held.

It is unimaginable that anyone could look into Oscar’s eyes and just throw him away.


Your donation to our Miracle Medical Fund provides lifesaving care and rehabilitation for the most vulnerable animals. Oscar was treated like literal trash by his previous owner, but you can give the gift of hope today for Oscar and other pets who need immediate help.

Even better, when you donate during the month of November, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar, thanks to a generous challenge from the estate of Daryl E. Behounek – that means when you donate to help Oscar, you’ll also help another animal at the ARL who needs you.

Donate now