A disturbing animal abuse case in Eaton County, and the sheriff is determined to find the person or people responsible.
Three dead dogs were found in a dumpster outside a Payless Shoe Source store in Charlotte. Animal Control believes the dogs were put there sometime between January 8 and January 12.
The sheriff said the animals were probably family pets that froze to death during the sub-zero weather, and then were thrown out like trash.
"To me it's disgusting, people leaving an animal outside like that in the weather that we've had," Sheriff Tom Reich said. "It was extremely cold, and it just saddens me."
A Payless employee discovered the dogs in the dumpster behind the store Sunday night, and notified Animal Control. The employee didn't want to go on camera, but she was also very upset.
The Sheppard mix, Border Collie, and mixed-breed black dog appeared to be neglected in the cold temperatures and frozen solid before being put in the dumpster.
"If you own a pet, you have a responsibility," Reich said. "Take care of your pet. When it's that cold, you put your pet in the house, not outside."
Unfortunately, animal abuse cases are not uncommon this time of year. A dog was found tied under a bridge in Lansing over the weekend. The director of the Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter said the tip line for animal welfare checks has been flooded with phone calls.
"It has been one of the roughest winters that we've ever had, and what you see is often a lot of people that have outdoor animals, stop going out to take care of them because they don't want to deal with the elements," Jamie McAloon-Lampman said. "The water bowl has been frozen for days."
Animal control officers are working over time making hundreds of checks almost every day. The dog found under the bridge is recovering now after suffering frostbite, a head injury, and a broken leg. A $500 reward is being offered for any information that leads to an arrest.
For the dogs that didn't survive in Charlotte, the sheriff is making the case a priority.
"We do have other crimes, but this one here, I got a soft spot for pets, and when someone doesn't take care of their pet, and this happens, I'm going to go full force," Reich said.
There are no leads yet and there were no surveillance cameras in the area, so the sheriff hopes someone will come forward with information. The public is encouraged to call Eaton County Animal Control at 517-543-5755, ext.1, or the tip line at 517-543-5433.
The dogs are undergoing a necropsy to determine cause of death. The results won't be available for at least several days.