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Reward offered to find suspect in fatal dog abuse

Darrell Smith, The Sacramento Bee –

The sight was unspeakable. The tan-and-white Chihuahua mix, its snout and legs bound, its body broken, was left dead on a sun-scorched lot off West Sacramento’s Merkley Avenue.

A county probation officer running a yard crew happened on the grim find. Veterinarians who later examined the dog’s corpse found it had been strangled, his neck broken. Yolo County Animal Services officers said the tiny dog went by the name B.J.

Nearly a month after the July 27 discovery, Yolo County’s animal services has little to go on. It has set up a reward fund hoping to shake loose clues in B.J.’s disturbing death.

The reward tally so far is $4,000. The hope is that the cash will bring someone forward, said Kathleen Otto, a spokeswoman for Sacramento’s Jack Sellers Racing, which donated $500. The racing team will pay an additional $1,000 if an arrest leads to a felony animal cruelty conviction.

“They can have a voice and make sure justice is served for these animals,” Otto said.

Another $2,500 comes from the Sacramento office of animal advocates Red Rover. Officials there are urging that the public help bring whoever killed B.J. to justice.

“Violence toward animals is often a precursor to violence toward people,” said Red Rover president and chief executive officer Nicole Forsyth, in a statement announcing the reward. “West Sacramento residents have a stake in seeing that whoever committed this sick and cruel act is punished to the full extent of the law.”

Sellers Racing has brought animal cruelty to light before. Earlier this year, Jack Sellers used the hood of his No. 15 Chevrolet to mark the death of a Chihuahua killed when a man struck it with a golf club in front of witnesses in Menifee, Riverside County.

The man, a retired school administrator, faces animal cruelty charges in the January incident.

In the Sacramento area, both law enforcement and animal advocates have been dismayed by a recent series of animal cruelty reports.

A cat was set on fire May 2, allegedly by a West Sacramento teen. The cat was later euthanized by veterinarians and the teen arrested on allegations of animal cruelty.

On May 9, another cat was shot and killed with a high- caliber weapon in a Woodland alleyway, Fletcher said. The shooting remains unsolved.

On June 2, a pig raised by a student for her Future Farmers of America project in Woodland was stolen, killed and dragged nearly a mile. A 17-year-old boy was arrested by Yolo County sheriff’s deputies two days later in connection with the killing.

“It seems we’re investigating more cases of intentional abuse,” said Vicky Fletcher, Yolo County’s animal services chief.

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