Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 1, 2013

Humane Society of the United States offers reward in Mercer County puppy deaths

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, Va. — The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing more than 10 pit bull puppies and discarding their bodies near Bluefield.

On Friday, April 26, a property owner in the Grassy Branch area of Mercer County saw bags being thrown from a vehicle. Upon noticing an odor coming from the bags, the resident called 911. Animal control officers reported to the scene on April 28 after the property owner called 911 reporting an odor.

Animal control officer Elizabeth Morehead reported to the scene on April 28 and found at least 10 decomposing pit bull-type puppies, estimated to be about 6 months old, stuffed into bags, according to a Humane Society press release. The property owners were able to provide a description of the vehicle the dogs were dumped from, but they did not get a tag number. The investigation into the crimes is now being carried out by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department in conjunction with Mercer County animal control officers.

Under West Virginia state law, if an investigation uncovers that the puppies were killed, the person(s) responsible could face felony cruelty to animal charges. A person convicted on the charge could face one to five years in a state penitentiary.

“The killing of these puppies is a despicable crime, and we are thankful that the authorities are investigating,” Summer Wyatt, state director for the Humane Society of the United States, said. “We hope that this reward will bring forward anyone with information about this heinous act of cruelty.”

 Animal control officer Tracey Monninger is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 304-487-8364.