Mutilated dog discovered

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By Lee Einer

The carcass of a mutilated dog was discovered in back of the Vital Arts building at 423 Grand Ave.

The body of the dog was left next to a roll-out garbage can, wrapped in clear plastic. Its jaw was broken, and its achilles tendons had been severed so that it could not run. Its ears, tail and genitals had been cut off. And it had been skinned meticulously. It was found around 2 p.m. Monday.

The only skin or fur left on the dog was that on the paws. The head was skinned completely bare, skin removed even from the area of the mouth, nose and eyes.

The Vital Arts Gallery, 423 Grand Ave., is run by Eva Paloheimo, an animal rights advocate, and spay-neuter clinics had been held in the building, although none recently.

“We do spay-neuter clinics, but we haven’t done that since November,” Paloheimo said. “I haven’t had anybody upset or angry with me. I don’t know what the message is if there is a message. If it is somebody who’s hurting pretty bad, I hope we can find them and help them.”

On Wednesday, a news conference was held with Las Vegas Deputy Police Chief Christian Montao to discuss the case. Also present were Thomas Garza, director of the city’s animal control, and Heather Ferguson of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force.

“I was shocked,” Montao said. “I have lived here most of my life, and I have never seen anything like this.”

Montao said the dog’s remains have been sent for autopsy and the results are pending. He said the information on the mutilation is preliminary. He also had a message for the person responsible: “ We are going to find out who you are, and you will be prosecuted.”

Ferguson expressed concern for the city, saying “sometimes these are starter cases — anyone willing to do something like this is an extreme danger to the community,” alluding to the fact that some who mutilate animals move on to commit acts of violence against humans.

The dog is believed to have been a German shephard mix, Ferguson said.

Ferguson said anyone with information can contact the attorney general’s animal cruelty hotline at 1-888-260-2178.

Montao asks that anyone with information regarding this case contact detective Pamela Sandoval at 425-7504 or call Crime Stoppers at 454-8884. Callers can remain anonymous. Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward, and the Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force is offering a $7,500 reward, for a total of $10,000 to anyone who provides information leading to arrest or conviction.