Pets

The puppy was hanging from a tree. Now there's a $16,000 reward for whoever killed it.

The puppy was found hanging from a tree Jan. 19 along the levee in the 5000 block of Riverside Boulevard.
The puppy was found hanging from a tree Jan. 19 along the levee in the 5000 block of Riverside Boulevard. Bee staff

A reward fund has grown to $16,000 for information leading to the capture of an animal abuser who tortured and killed a puppy whose carcass was found hanging from a tree last month in Sacramento.

The city of Sacramento, animal advocacy groups and private donors are offering the money in hopes of solving the mystery of the person or persons responsible for killing a small, dark pup that a citizen discovered hanging from a tree on Jan. 19 in the 5000 block of Riverside Boulevard, near the Little Pocket neighborhood.

Chief animal control officer Jace Huggins said the animal suffered "diffuse and traumatic injuries throughout the entire body," including fractures "from nose to tail" and abdominal injuries.

Huggins pointed out that research has linked animal cruelty to other crimes, including child abuse and domestic violence.

Front Street Animal Shelter manager Gina Knepp said the Humane Society of the United States, the Sacramento SPCA, Red Rover and private citizens have contributed to the reward fund.

Julie Virga, a Sacramento resident, said she stepped up after learning about the case from news stories. "I live in the neighborhood and I'm an animal lover," said Virga. "I wanted to do what I could to help."

She and friends contributed money to the reward fund and posted fliers about the crime, she said.

"There's a lot of outrage," said Virga. "We are not going to stop until this person is caught and prosecuted."

Anyone who has information about what happened to the dog should call Crime Stoppers at 916-443-HELP or Huggins at 916-808-5855. Tips may be left anonymously.

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