Warning: This post contains graphic photos.
They were found about a week apart in a cold, snowy alley in Calgary, a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. First, it was an emaciated husky and then a young, thin black and white kitten. What they had in common was heartbreaking.
The mouths of both animals had been taped shut. Both were dead. Both bodies showed evidence of traumatic injuries.
John Wutsky found the husky on Jan. 9 in a community called Willow Park. He’d seen the dog around the neighborhood before, many times. The poor dog’s mouth had been sealed shut with clear medical tape.
“It’s something you don’t forget,” Wutzky told CBC News. “His mouth was taped shut and he’s just a puppy. I’ll bet you he wasn’t two years old. It’s just atrocious.”
Authorities believe the husky, a young female, either starved or died of dehydration. The level of emaciation leads them to believe the dog had been abused for some time before it was left with its mouth taped.
A little girl found the kitten, a 9-month-old short-haired female, on Jan. 16 in the same alley. Her body was found about 10 yards away from where the husky had earlier been discovered. Green painter’s tape covered the cat’s mouth. Whether she starved or froze to death is unclear.
Authorities will conduct necropsies on both animals to determine causes of death. So far, no one has come forward to assert ownership or knowledge of either animal.
“This blatant cruelty is fairly rare,” Brad Nichols, Cruelty Investigations Manager with the Calgary Humane Society, told CTV News. ”We deal with a lot of neglect and a lot of abuse that stems from behavioral problems and a lack of self control but, something like this where — and I can’t think of a scenario where tape would be put around a muzzle for an appropriate reason — these cases are fairly rare.”
A closer look at the animals’ bodies confirmed that they’d previously been injured, probably multiple times.
“We’re talking healed and fresh fracture wounds, those types of things,” Nichols told the Global News. This leads investigators to believe the abuser may also have been the owner of these animals. It would account for why no distressed owner has yet come forward.
Mobile Veterinary Clinic Offers Reward, Triggering a Flood of Public Contributions
A Calgary mobile veterinary clinic, Vets to Go, was so moved by this horrific crime that it promised a $5,000 reward “for anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the monster who perpetrated this incredible abuse.”
“I think it’s pretty hard to be detached from this case… especially as a vet, you know what that animal went through before it eventually passed,” Wendy McClelland of Vets to Go told CBC News.
Almost immediately after Vets to Go announced the reward, an anonymous donor pledged an additional $3,000. The clinic began to field an onslaught of requests from the general public asking to be able to contribute.
Vets to Go, eager to oblige, established an online fund to meet this demand. An angry public responded in a huge way. As of Jan. 29, the reward amount had soared to an incredible $70,000 CAD.
Calgary Humane Society Goes Door to Door Trying to Find a Monster
The Calgary Humane Society is going door to door in Willow Park to investigate this crime. Fortunately, there is a potentially positive development to report. On Jan. 24, investigators executed a search warrant at a home in the neighborhood and apparently seized some items of evidence.
“As an enforcement agency, Calgary Humane Society has to balance the need for credible, helpful information with maintaining the integrity of the investigation,” said Brad Nichols. “We will not be releasing any specifics beyond this development until and if charges have been laid. We are incredibly grateful for the public tips, support and general anti-cruelty sentiment.”
According to Nichols, if the perpetrator can be found and prosecuted the possible punishments under the Animal Protection Act and the Criminal Code of Canada include up to five years in prison, a $20,000 fine and a lifetime ban on caring for animals.
This type of cruelty, horrible as it is, worries law enforcement for another reason. Someone who enjoys inflicting this kind of suffering rarely stops at animals. Eventually, torturing animals won’t be enough. The perpetrator may transition to preying on people. For all these reasons, this heartless and depraved offender must be found and stopped.
Someone somewhere has the information authorities need. With luck, perhaps the evidence already seized pursuant to the search warrant will prove incriminating. If the generous reward can flush out a tipster, so much the better. Kudos to the citizens of Calgary for reaching deep into their wallets to make that reward so enticing. It could be the key to solving this case.
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