The Gander and Area SPCA is asking the public to help Glovertown RCMP learn more about how a dog with a heavy rock hanging from its neck ended up in the Terra Nova River.
“Somebody had to put thought into doing this, and to throw this dog over and then turn and walk away from it, hearing this dog thrashing in the water — that’s disturbing,” said local SPCA manager Bonnie Harris.
According to Harris, the SPCA received a call Thursday morning after the dog’s body was found floating in the river near the E.S. Spencer Bridge. While the body was close to a riverbank, Harris said the presence of mud made the use of a boat necessary to retrieve the dead dog.
“You could actually see the rock tied on to the rope that was tied on to the dog’s neck,” she said. “Looking at what we were seeing — and it was pretty grotesque — the rope was extremely tight to the point that I made the comment, ‘I wonder if the dog drowned, or did it choke?’”
However, Harris said the dog’s body was bloated when it was found, which may have made the rope appear to be more tightly wrapped around the neck than it actually was.
The rock weighed 12 pounds. Harris said the body had not begun to decompose, and added it will be sent to St. John’s for an autopsy.
Its age is estimated to be between one and three years old. The male dog, believed to be a beagle mix, has mostly black fur, with some brown fur under its neck, around the eyes and on its legs.
“Somebody must know somebody who had a dog at one point, and all of a sudden this dog is now no longer there,” said Harris.
There have been additional cases of intentional drownings in recent years, she said. In one instance, a dog tied to a rock was spotted in a pond and managed to survive the ordeal.
That dog’s owner was charged with failing to provide medical care, but no other charges were laid due to a lack of evidence relating to the dog’s appearance in the pond, said Harris.
In another case, more than a dozen kittens were found in a five-gallon bucket of water.
“I know they say years ago they used to drown puppies and kittens, but I can’t see how somebody can do this intentionally,” she said.
“They had to put the thought into putting this rock in three bags and tying a rope onto it and tying this rope around the dog’s neck.”
Harris said people who can no longer take care of an animal should bring them to a local shelter. If the shelter cannot accept the animal and the owner is adamant they can no longer look after it, she recommends taking it to a veterinarian to have it humanely euthanized.
“And I don’t condone any of this, but for God’s sakes, if they had let the dog off loose, at least it would have had a chance that somebody may have found it. There are so many other ways that are less cruel and disturbing than what was done with this dog.”