State police investigating alleged torture, killing of pit bull in Washington County

Posted Nov. 03, 2012, at 1:33 p.m.

EAST MACHIAS, Maine — The Maine State Police and a local animal control officer have been looking into allegations that a dog owned by an East Machias woman was recently tortured and killed in the Gardner Lakes area near the Washington County community of Whiting.

While details remain sketchy, Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith said Friday it appears “the incident did happen” and remains under investigation.

The dog’s owner, Michelle Rhodes of East Machias, who declined to be interviewed Friday, said in a Facebook posting that the female pit bull went missing and, after a search, was found dead in an apple orchard with its throat cut and its body riddled with multiple gunshot wounds.

Kevin Nelson, a Machias police officer who is also the animal control officer for East Machias, said Friday it’s unclear exactly what transpired. He also said that charges will be filed if the person who caused the dog’s death is identified.

Jason Barry of East Machias, who said Friday he found the carcass, said the dog had recently given birth to a litter of 13 puppies. He said he has photographs of the dead dog and photos of shell casings and a blood trail that led him to the carcass.

Barry said social media accounts of the incident have attracted multiple offers of cash that would be used to offer a reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for the dog’s death.

“Given the response we’ve had, I wouldn’t be surprised if by next week the reward amount would be five grand,” Barry said Saturday morning.