A criminal investigation into the death of female German Shepard found in the Welland Recreational Canal more than a week ago has been launched by Niagara Regional Police.
Friday, police announced they are now working with Welland and District Humane Society on the case that began with the discovery of the mixed breed dog, a female believed to be approximately four years old, on Wednesday, April 29 in the former canal by the Illuminaqua Stage at Merritt Park.
Humane society officers found the dog hog-tied with black electrical cord that went around its neck and tied its legs together. Two small holes were found in the top of its skull as well, and at the time they appeared to be .22 caliber bullet wounds.
A necropsy performed on the dog by a humane society veterinarian determined the holes to be from either a hammer or sharp rock.
“More cruelly still, it appears that the dog was alive when it entered the waterway as pathological findings of the lung tissue strongly support the cause of death of the dog being drowning,” police said in a release.
Police, who called the incident a heinous crime, said it appeared the dog had also suffered from significant malnourishment.
“In spite of considerable social media interest in the incident, in the days after the discovery of the body, there were no calls to the humane society or police with information about what had happened to the dog,” the release said.
Police said evidence has been seized for DNA analysis and investigators continue to search for persons who may have knowledge about this matter.
“Investigators are mindful of research in the fields of psychology and criminology that suggests people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don’t stop there – many of them move on to their fellow humans,” police said.
The humane society has offered a reward for information and on its Facebook page wrote, “Anyone wishing to donate can do so at the shelter, located at 60 Provincial St. (Welland) or at our Investigations department located at 706 East Main St. Please let staff know that it is for the reward trust fund.”
And PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”— is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the crime.
“Bludgeoning and then tossing a dog away to die an agonizing death by drowning shows a shocking and dangerous disregard for others’ suffering. PETA is urging anyone with information to come forward immediately, before someone else is hurt,” said PETA’s senior director Colleen O’Brien in a release.
To report a tip call 905-735-1552, email John Greer directly at email@example.com, or call SPCA Agent Ryan Huurman at 905-735-1552 ext. 210
Police ask anyone with information to contact for Det. Sgt. Manney at 905-735-7811 ext. 3355, Det. Const. Wegelin 905-735-7811 ext. 3344.