Sacramento police are searching for a man suspected of animal cruelty for allegedly tying a dog to a bowling ball and drowning it in the American River.
The Sacramento Police Department identified the man as William Meek, 47, a white male described as 6 feet 2 inches tall, 200 pounds, with brown and gray hair and blue eyes.
The dog, a 12-year-old border collie named Zelda, was found floating in the American River on June 16 near Sacramento’s River Park neighborhood, said Gina Knepp, city animal care manager. The dog had a microchip, which the city animal shelter traced to a Sacramento woman. She told officers she put the dog in Meek’s care, Knepp said, and he allegedly told the woman he surrendered the dog to the city animal shelter.
“Which is obviously not true,” Knepp said. “We do not believe he came to the shelter.”
When the dog was found, Knepp said, it had a retractable leash attached to its collar. The other end of the leash was tied to a bowling bag, which contained a bowling ball and a large rock. Despite this payload, the dog was floating when it was found in the American River.
Knepp said a necropsy confirmed drowning as the dog’s cause of death. It also revealed signs of trauma around the dog’s neck, presumably from struggling to free itself and survive.
“The dog was alive when it entered the river,” Knepp said. “It’s a terrible case.”
Officers hoped to arrest Meek when he had a court appearance Thursday for an unrelated matter, but he did not show up, Knepp said.
Anyone with information about the case can report tips anonymously by calling (800) 222-7463 or (916) 443-4357, or by sending a text to: 274637 (include “SACTIP” plus the tip information). Tips can also be reported online at www.crimealert.org.