SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. — A 3-year-old German shepherd was euthanized Saturday after being mutilated by an attacker.
The dog, named Ike, had been partially skinned from its belly to its genitals, said its owner, Christopher Henderson of Scottsbluff.
Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman confirmed that an investigation was under way.
As of Monday morning, the cause of Ike's injuries had not been specifically determined, but Henderson said he believes the dog had been purposely injured by a neighbor.
“The cuts on his belly were clean,” Henderson said. “They were knife cuts.”
The night before, Henderson said, his mother and her boyfriend had been unable to find Ike, who usually stayed at their house outside Gering. The injured dog eventually came crawling back to her home.
Ike had been in some mischief in the past for getting in a neighbor's chicken coop.
The neighbors had, Henderson said, called the Sheriff's Office “on us once, but we hadn't heard any complaints in at least six months. ... We did what we could to put a stop to it.”
He had put a kennel at his mother's home to attempt to corral Ike. It was part of the nightly routine to put Ike and the dog's mother, which the Hendersons also own, in the kennel.
Henderson said that Saturday morning he received a call from his mother that the dog had come home badly injured. Overman said his deputy described the dog “as basically filleted.”
Two vets concurred that the injuries weren't inflicted by another animal or a wire fence, Henderson said.
Henderson said his brother-in-law had followed a blood trail made by the dog that led from the Henderson home directly to a neighbor's property. However, Overman said, that assertion and some other claims of evidence found “are greatly exaggerated.”
The dog's death is under investigation. Though it is not illegal in the county to shoot a dog that has killed or threatened livestock or other animals, Overman said, injuring a dog in such a manner would be a crime under animal cruelty statutes.
“It is a horrible and disgusting thing. That a person could do that to a dog is cruel,” Overman said.