NEOSHO, Mo. — Neosho police have made little progress in their investigation of the suspected live-skinning of a pet beagle who had to be euthanized a week ago because of her suffering.
Lt. Jason Baird of the Neosho Police Department said investigators have received a few tips since a $1,000 reward was put up last week for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the skinning of the dog. But none have panned out.
Baird said the reward has since grown to more than $3,000 through donations from the public. On Thursday, the Humane Society of the United States announced a $5,000 contribution toward the reward, for a total of $8,000.
"It takes a truly callous person to skin a dog alive," said Amanda Good, Missouri state director for the society, in a press release. "And it's completely heartbreaking to imagine the suffering this dog endured. We hope that this reward will encourage anyone with information about this terrible crime to come forward, not only to help seek justice for this animal, but also to ensure the safety of the entire community."
A resident of the Greenwood addition on Neosho's northwest side reported seeing the suffering animal emerging from a wooded area the afternoon of Sept. 23. Officers responding to the report found the dog with about 75 percent of its skin removed. Baird said the dog had been skinned alive down its entire back from the neck to its tail and down its legs.
The officers had some trouble catching the dog at first. Baird said the beagle was in obvious pain.
"You could just tell it wasn't doing good," Baird said. "I'll just leave it at that."
The staff of a veterinary clinic was consulted, and a determination was made to put the beagle down because of the extent of her suffering.
Detectives later learned the dog belonged to a resident of the 1300 block of Lou Ida Drive who had been out of town for a sporting event the day in question. The dog was left inside the home that day. Baird said the dog may have gotten out on her own through an unsecured door.
"We don't think anyone broke in and took her," he said. "We just think it got out."
He said the wooded area where the dog was found is southwest of where she lived. Detectives walked the woods hoping to find a crime scene, but it had rained in the meantime. Any sign of abuse of the dog may have been washed away.
Baird said police have received a few tips but only one that he would characterize as possibly relevant. He said it is hard to believe that no one heard the dog when it was being skinned.
"I don't know how you couldn't," he said.
Baird said some chatter on Facebook has suggested that the injuries may have been the result of the dog being struck by a vehicle.
"I've taken the pictures (of the dog's injuries) to two vets here in town, and they've confirmed there's no way this could have been (the result) of a car accident," Baird said.