Valley authorities are searching for one or more people who tortured two small puppies with a blunt object, leaving them severely bruised and dead.
The female Shih Tzu puppies weighed less than two pounds each and suffered internal tearing injuries that led to a bacterial infection and deadly septicemia, according to an animal autopsy by veterinary pathologists at the University of Arizona.
Police have followed up on several leads but have no suspects in the case.
“Whoever did this must be held accountable for his or her actions,” said Arizona Humane Society President and CEO Cheryl Naumann in a statement. “And this person or persons could pose a threat to other animals or people.”
The case first came to authorities’ attention on Nov. 28 when someone took a 6-week-old female Shih Tzu puppy -- who was not eating or moving -- to a veterinarian in west Phoenix, a news release from the Arizona Human Society said.
The veterinarian noticed the puppy’s anus was torn and stretched, her body was bruised and blood and feces were stuck to the animal’s fur. The puppy died soon after she was taken to the vet.
The person who took the puppy into the vet left immediately after the dog died and officials don’t believe the individual is the suspect.
Police went to the address provided at the vet and found a resident who directed authorities to another address. Officers then discovered the second Shih Tzu nearly dead, and removed her from the home for emergency care. The dog died shortly afterward.
The person or people responsible for killing the puppies could face felony animal cruelty and bestiality charges, which carry sentences of one year in prison and a fine up to $150,000.
In March 2006, bestiality was outlawed in the state of Arizona. The law bans all forms of sexual contact with any animal, as well as causing another person to have any type of sexual contact with an animal.
Authorities ask anyone with information to call Silent Witness at (480)-WITNESS.