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Jul 11, 2014 9:33 PM by LiLi Tan, KSBY News

Burned steer may have new lease on life

A steer that was burned last fall will live out the rest of his natural life at an animal sanctuary, says the woman who offered $10,000 so he could avoid terminal auction this month.

Named Panda, the steer was badly burned after someone broke into a barn at Paso Robles, poured flammable liquid on it and set it on fire. Its owner, a 16-year-old FFA student, nursed Panda back to health, with the help of bio-gels and monetary donations from the community.

Donors also stepped forward, offering to pay so Panda could live out the rest of his natural life at an animal sanctuary. Though some offers were double what the owner thought he could get at the Mid-State Fair auction, the young man said it was a difficult decision, but he wanted to follow through with his original intentions and commitment to the FFA.

A few weeks later, it appears the young man may have had a change of heart. Marcy Christmas, a Los Angeles-area woman who offered $10,000, says she and the family have reached a deal and she sent a check to them for $2,000 to secure Panda on Thursday.

The family has not yet confirmed whether they struck a deal or have received the check; however, Animal Place, a sanctuary in Grass Valley, says it has scheduled Panda's pickup with the family for Tuesday, July 15.

Garrett Kaplan, the man allegedly responsible for burning Panda, has a court date on Thursday, July 17. He has pled not guilty to charges of animal cruelty.

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