Crime - Sacto 911

Reward offered in dog burning, latest in string of Sacramento area animal abuses

Fire debris marks where a dog was burned in a crate on Becerra Way.
Fire debris marks where a dog was burned in a crate on Becerra Way. Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District

An $8,000 reward has been offered to find the person who set fire to a dog in a pet travel crate, the fourth in a series of animal cruelty cases in the Sacramento area in a month.

The spate of offenses against the animals in different locations in Sacramento County is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to animal abuse.

“There has been a lot of them recently – and those are just the ones that have made the news,” said Gina Knepp, who runs the city of Sacramento’s Front Street Animal Shelter. “We are working cases that have not hit the news that are just disgusting.”

The most recent case involves a dog that was found burned alive in a crate on a sidewalk early Wednesday morning in Arden Arcade. Sacramento County sheriff’s detectives are searching for the person responsible for the dog’s death.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District has teamed with the Humane Society of the United States and other donors to offer an $8,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

The dog was burned to death in the dog crate placed outside a fraternal lodge in the 3000 block of Becerra Way, near Watt and Marconi avenues.

Residents reported what they thought was a trash fire on the street outside the lodge about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. Neighbors eventually heard noise coming from the small fire on the sidewalk.

When Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District firefighters pulled up, they recognized that the fire was the result of a burning dog crate, not rubbish. The crate door had been shut and the small dog inside lit on fire.

Three other notable dog abuse cases have occurred since late December:

▪ “Colin the Collar” dog was taken to the city of Sacramento shelter on Sunday, after being found in south Sacramento with severe wounds to his neck because his skin had grown over his collar as he outgrew it.

The collar had to be removed surgically and his skin stitched together. Investigators are searching for his owner.

▪ On Dec. 26, a dead dog was found in a garbage can on Cardinal Court, near Kenneth and Garfield avenues. The dog, wrapped in a tablecloth, had a stereo speaker cord, with a speaker still attached, around its neck.

Also that day, in the same general vicinity, two dogs went missing from their owner’s front yard. One of them returned with a cord around its neck and blue painter’s tape around its jaws. The other dog was found down the street, hiding under a parked car. A 23-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of grand theft of an animal and felony animal torture.

▪ Elk Grove police continue to seek information about how Holly, a terrier, was burned. She was found on Dec. 21 with burns over 50 percent of her body.

Dr. Raheel Khan, psychiatrist with Sutter Center for Psychiatry in Sacramento, said that animal abuse can sometimes be traced to a person needing to exert power.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has noted that “the abuse of animals can be a precursor to aggressive action toward humans,” Khan said.

Knepp said the shelter investigated 309 cases of animal cruelty in 2014.

Still pending, Knepp said, is the prosecution of a man for allegedly tying a dog to a bowling ball and drowning it in the American River. 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.

Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee