Labrador brutally tortured
Posted: Wednesday, Apr 30, 2008 - 10:50:49 pm MDT
By NICHOLAS LEDDEN/Daily Inter Lake
No suspects in death of dog, whose body was found near Eureka
When Tobacco Valley Animal Shelter Director Wendy Anderson approached Pigeon Bridge off Montana 37 outside of Eureka on Saturday morning, a blood-spattered cement post rose to meet her eyes.
Surrounding the post — erected to keep vehicles off the old wooden bridge — was a 3-foot circle of blood-soaked ground.
“You can see where the dog was tied there, where the majority of the beating took place,” Anderson said.
Anderson and Lincoln County Animal Control Officer Suzy Johnson were unable to find the weapon, perhaps a baseball bat or a stick.
“We searched the area for any type of weapon,” Anderson said. “It could have been anything, really.”
A bloody drag-trail led away from the post to about a third of the way down the bridge, where Anderson believes the dog was hung off the side.
A bloody paw print on a pipe outside the bridge’s rail indicated the dog was still alive and struggling as it was suspended off the bridge, still attached to whatever was used to tie it to the post.
The dog, a young female black Labrador mix with white patches on her chest and throat, then was dropped 20 feet into the Tobacco River.
“We’re not sure what killed her, ultimately,” said Anderson.
A man picnicking near the river with his own dogs on Saturday morning discovered the dog’s body in 5 or 6 inches of water and notified animal control officers.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has since launched an animal cruelty investigation, said Detective Jim Sweet, who observed that a large segment of the community has become aware of the case.
Members of the community are posting fliers asking for information, but the dog was found without tags and no dog of that description has been reported missing.
“I think it’s safe to say at this point there is no suspect in the case,” Sweet said.
Anderson said the brutality of the killing horrified her.
“This is more than just an animal lovers’ problem, this is the whole community’s problem,” she said, referring to studies that have shown people capable of violent acts toward animals are often capable of violent acts toward humans. “The brutality of it should have the whole community concerned, the whole area concerned.”
“Even more disturbing to me is that it was left in plain sight for somebody to find,” Anderson added, calling the torture blatant.
The Tobacco Valley Animal Shelter, a Eureka nonprofit organization, is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit, shelter president Lori McNicol said. The reward could grow as the investigation progresses, she said.
“It’s very disturbing to think that a person could be in that state of mind,” said McNicol, asking the community for help in bringing the perpetrator to justice.
“We just really want people to be aware of their surroundings,” she said. “Little things like basic public awareness is what’s going to help.”