Brett Colton got the call he had been dreading since his two Siberian huskies went missing weeks ago from his Boggs Township home.
The news was worse than he could have expected — his family pets apparently had been shot and killed, their bodies dumped down an embankment not far from his Runville Road home.
Colton, who is the online manager for the Centre Daily Times, last saw Xander and Ami alive Feb. 18 when the dogs ran up the hill behind his home and took off. When they didn’t return and when search efforts yielded few results, he began to fear the worst.
Then, on April 4, about six weeks after they went missing, a passer-by discovered the bodies of two huskies that matched the description on the posters Colton had plastered on telephone poles and in businesses across the area.
“At least I get closure,” Colton said Tuesday. “I get my dogs back at least instead of them laying out somewhere.”
But many questions remain.
After the grisly discovery, Colton took the bodies to a local veterinary clinic. He was told the dogs had been dead perhaps only a week, not the full six weeks they had been missing.
The animals were only a few pounds from their standard weights, suggesting either someone was feeding the dogs or that they were able to find food on their own.
Each animal had been shot once in the neck by what appeared to be a gun. But there are few clues as to who would have killed the dogs, or why. Colton, however, is determined to find out.
“I want to know who did it,” he said. “It’s not over.”
Colton will turn to the same telephone poles and Facebook pages he used to seek help finding his missing dogs. But this time he’ll be asking for help locating the person who shot and killed his pets. He hopes to collect donations to be able to offer a reward.
He’ll also seek out help from the state police.
Cpl. David Montresor, with the state police at Rockview, said Tuesday that police are required by law to investigate cases of animal cruelty. Criminal charges can come from those cases.
Montresor also said state dog laws place responsibility on owners to keep dogs leashed or on their property. In certain instances, under state law, property owners can shoot dogs that wander onto their property if the animals are threatening livestock or humans.
“But it comes down to what is reasonable,” Montresor said. “Each case might be different. We see if there is any wrongdoing.”
Colton described his dogs Tuesday as big babies. Now he’s left to say goodbye to the animals he raised from puppies, to the dogs that became part of his family.
“They were my kids — my furry kids,” he said.