Nearly a week after a Columbus family discovered two of their pets mutilated and a third dog missing from their home southeast of the city, investigators still have no prime suspects in the case.
“We’re following up on some leads, but we have nothing solid at this point,” Detective Christopher Roberts of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.
The canine owners told police that when they returned to their Della Road home last Friday morning they discovered one of their two Maltese-Dachshund mix dogs with fatal wounds.
The other had suffered a large wound to the lower body, with its internal organs exposed. However, the dog was released this week from a veterinary clinic and is recovering at home, Deputy Sheriff Maj. Todd Noblitt said.
Where to call
The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department is seeking information on those responsible for the mutilation of two canines, as well as the theft of a white Maltese dog, in the Jewell Village area late last week.
Investigators believe the crimes were committed outside a home in the 600 block of Della Road between 9 p.m. Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Christopher Roberts at 379-1650.
A third dog, a white Maltese, was missing from the fenced yard near Jewell Village where the animals were kept. Investigators believe the crimes occurred between 9 p.m. April 18 and 3 a.m. Friday.
“I’ve talked to the owners, and they have no idea where the missing dog is,” Roberts said. “I’m sure there have been other similar incidents, but I’ve never come across a case like this.”
The most common victims of pet theft are purebred dogs, according to the Seattle-based PAWS animal advocacy organization. Stolen purebred dogs, especially toy breeds such as Maltese, are sold for half the asking price of a canine from a legitimate breeder.
Several websites that focus on white Maltese dogs give a price range of $600 to $5,000. If sellers can provide bloodline documentation that indicates an unlikelihood of genetic defects, purebred Maltese typically sell in the higher price range, according to the websites.
“There is definitely a market out there,” Noblitt said. “We have had incidents over the past few years where pets have been stolen from backyards. However, it’s not a widespread issue locally.”
Roberts said there is not enough evidence to indicate whether or not the perpetrator knows the dog owners.
Those responsible could be charged with three Class D felonies under Indiana law, including theft, animal mutilation and killing of an animal. Each count is punishable by six months to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.