WEST HAVEN -- While the reward money is piling up, PETA has also stepped in with a $5,000 reward in finding the person or people responsible for burning a dog to death in a beach parking lot last week.
PETA released the following statement:
"If this little dog was alive when she was set on fire, the agony and terror that she must have felt are almost unimaginable," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "PETA urges anyone with information about this horrific crime to come forward immediately so that this dog's killer can be held accountable and stopped from hurting anyone else."
"I first thought it was just a normal fire," said Alfred Green, who works for the Audubon Wildlife Guards, at Sandy Point Beach, where he spotted charred remains of something. Then, he realized it was a dog.
"To be honest, I didn’t look at it too long after I saw that," Green said. "And the first thing on my mind was to just make sure that nobody else has to see this."
Green called West Haven Police, who identified the dog as possibly a 1 year old mini Schnauzer with cropped ears and a cropped tail, that was intentionally set on fire using an accelerant.
Tuesday afternoon police released a photo of a white pickup truck, spotted in the Point Beach parking lot late Thursday night. Police later said, thanks to the public’s assistance, the operator of the truck was identified, located, and interviewed Tuesday.
“The subject was confirmed to have had NO INVOLVEMENT in this incident, but did assist with the investigation,” said a West Haven PD statement.
"To have a puppy set on fire, about 500 feet from my bedroom window, and I could do nothing, kills me," said Meli Garthwait
Late Thursday night, July 4, she and her husband saw and heard some loud fireworks being set off in this same parking lot and called police, who said they wee extremely busy, but would get to it when they could.
"One of my neighbors told me that he had heard a dog screaming like terrifying, horrendous, awful screaming," Garthwait said, adding that the neighbor head this at approximately That was at 10:30 pm Thursday.
"I do know that the time that the puppy was killed sometime between 12:00 and 12:40 AM according to (West Haven) Detective Wolf," said Garthwait.
One way local groups are hoping to drum up information, that will lead to an arrest and conviction, is through raising reward money.
"The higher the reward goes, the more likely we will be able to find whoever did this," said Garthwait, whose Green Fur Kidz Dog Rescue had raised $14,000 in reward money, as of early Tuesday afternoon, thanks in large part to a to a $10,000 donation from the Executive Auto Group.
Other organizations efforts have raised the reward total to roughly $20,000.
"I feel really sick because I’ve been rescuing dogs mostly my whole life," said Garthwait.