LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A humane society official said Monday that dozens of dogs were fed hotdogs laced with sleeping pills then shot to death in rural northern Arkansas.
Searcy County Humane Society Treasurer Jean Passmore said a couple of loggers were looking at the uninhabited timber land Thursday near Arkansas Highway 254 in rural Searcy County, about 100 miles north of Little Rock, when they came across the bodies of some of the dogs. The loggers called an officer with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission who they knew and he called the Searcy County Humane Society.
It was late and dark Thursday by the time Passmore and her shelter director were notified about the dogs. Friday morning the shelter director went to the area to help however he could, Passmore said.
“They had found about 30 of them the night before, but in the daylight they found the others,” Passmore said.
She said in all 57 dogs were poisoned then shot, including five animals found still alive but with such severe injuries from gunshot wounds that they had to be euthanized. Shelter workers found three dogs that it appeared had been fed sleeping pills, but had escaped the gunshots.
They found another dog with a gunshot wound to its collarbone and jaw area.
“He’s starting to heal, the baby with the gunshot. He’s starting to eat and that’s a good sign. Two of the others are really frozen in fear. They’re going to need some help dealing with what happened. But there is one who just jogged right up and followed my shelter director around,” Passmore said. “There’s another female out there that they found that is so skittish. She gets close to the food, but she runs away. They haven’t been able to get her so they’re going to take a trap out there today.”
She said the dogs were mixed breeds, but the officer from Game and Fish told her that it appeared there were several sets of litter mates that were about the same age and looked to be similar breeds.
Both the Arkansas State Police and local officers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission were called to help with the initial investigation, but both agencies had turned over their findings to the Searcy County sheriff’s office as of Monday. Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said local troopers helped gather evidence and helped with some of the forensic work needed at the scene.
Several messages left with the Searcy County Sheriff were not returned Monday. Sheriff Joey Pruitt told The Harrison Daily (http://bit.ly/1RzWkRN ) that none of the dogs were wearing collars or name tags. He told the newspaper that it appeared all of the dogs were shot at the property where they were found, and they could have been dead for two or three days.
Passmore said she and the shelter workers are trying to focus on the dogs that survived the attack, but it’s hard not to think about the dogs that died.
“They were well taken care of. Well fed. It was not like they were all skin and bones and neglected,” she said. “What hurts me so badly is we have access to getting these dogs home. We have transport services all over the U.S. It was unnecessary. We could have found them homes.”
People from all over the country have called the shelter offering money, support and words of kindness. Passmore said a Minnesota woman whose husband is terminally ill sent the money the couple had planned to use for holiday travel to help pay for the injured dog’s medical care.
“That’s been overwhelming,” Passmore said. “The outpouring of generosity and compassion we’ve received in the last few days.”