Authorities in a rural Idaho county are working to determine who is behind a plague of dead dogs that has struck the area, many of them apparently killed deliberately.
Since November, about 30 dogs have gone missing from the Twin Falls and Jerome County region, about 125 miles southeast of Boise.
This week, four dogs that had been beaten and shot in the head were found dumped off the side of a roadway south of Twin Falls, officials with the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office told Reuters.
“We didn’t know until today how they had died: poisoned or shot or what,” Deputy Gary Trostel said about the four German shepherd mixes. “We knew it was some type of head trauma the way the eyes bulged out and with all the bleeding.”
Last month, hikers in neighboring Jerome County found a German shepherd whose head appeared to have been crushed by a rock. The body was covered in purple cloth, hinting at what animal control officers called a “ritualistic execution,” Reuters reported.
The Humane Society of the United States has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of whoever was involved with that dog’s death.
Michelle Bull, who lives in a rural part of Jerome County, told the Twin Falls Times-News that she heard a gunshot and later found her family’s dog, Bean, lying near a canal, dead from a bullet wound.
Employees who work at a local dairy told Bull that they had seen an unfamiliar SUV in the area around that time.
“I guess this Suburban drove up on the canal road and shot Bean and just left him,” Bull told the Times-News.
One poster on the local Craigslist website warned last week that some dogs listed as giveaways on Craigslist were being collected to be used as “bait dogs” for dog fighting or training other dogs to attack. The bait dogs allegedly are bound or otherwise prevented from fighting back against the dogs being “trained.”
Authorities have told local news outlets, however, that so far there is no evidence to substantiate the rumors.
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