Community outraged, but no leads in Bollinger County animal cruelty case

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- Despite public outrage, the Bollinger County Sheriff's Department has no leads as to who dragged and burned a pit bull Saturday.

Bollinger County Sheriff Leo McElrath said his department is canvassing the county for information about a pit bull that was discovered by someone driving on County Road 318 near Marble Hill who spotted its charred body and notified authorities Friday night.

When deputies went to investigate Saturday morning, they found the dog tied to a fence. The animal's entire left side had been burned, and mud and gravel was embedded in the right side, according to the incident report. The dog's right hind leg was also broken, and evidence of dragging was found on the road. Deputies buried the dog shortly after its discovery.

The department has heard public outcry condemning the actions, but no one has come forward with information, McElrath said.

"It has raised discussion here," he said. "Hopefully someone will give us information because a lot of people are not happy."

McElrath said this is the first time he has seen a case of animal cruelty this violent. The department receives roughly six to seven calls about animal cruelty every month, McElrath said.

"Normally it's about dogs not being fed or cows not having hay," he said.

Requi Salter, who sits on the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri board of directors, said that while the torture of the pit bull sounds uncommon, incidents like it may be common but never reported.

"While we know about this one, I'm willing to bet there are more like it," Salter said. "Animals are like children when it comes to abuse. They have no voice."

Salter said the society receives animal neglect and cruelty calls almost daily, but rarely anything like what happened to the pit bull.

The Bollinger County Stray and Rescue Group in Zalma, Mo., asked the department to dig up the dog for an autopsy. The autopsy will determine the dog's sex, breed, color, age and cause of death. The project will pay for the autopsy.

Salter advised keeping pets under close watch because Halloween is just days away. Black cats are said to be targets of abuse near Halloween, but incidents are rare, she said.

"It's done out of superstition because black cats go hand in hand with bad luck," she said. "There have been no real incidents in the area though."

McElrath asks that anyone who might have information about the incident to contact his office, 573-238-2633. Anyone arrested in the case faces felony animal abuse and animal cruelty charges.


Pertinent address:

Marble Hill, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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