[UPDATE]: Dog found skinned alive euthanized

Published 3:39 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2012

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Shelby County Reporter

Bama, Delana Dunnaway’s one year-old pug, was found skinned alive in a wooded area near her home off Chilton County Road 686 close to Montevallo on May 25, leaving her with many questions and few answers.

“It hurt my feelings…to know someone could do that to an animal,” she said.

Dunnaway said the act must have taken place in about a 45-minute window.

“My husband left for work about 5:15 a.m., and [Bama] was with my husband,” she said. “When I got up at 5:45, my other dogs were barking. He’s always right beside me, and wasn’t there. I looked for him for about 30 minutes.”

She began searching for him to no avail. Her son-in-law joined the search, and eventually found him.

“He said, ‘I found him, but he’s bad. He’s alive, but he’s bad. I’m not sure, but it looks like someone skinned him alive.’”

Upon finding the dog, she and her son-in-law rushed him to Calera Animal Hospital.

There, Dr. Rhonda Ellison informed the family of the worst; Bama simply had too little skin to save, and would have to be put down.

“It hurt my feelings,” said Dunnaway. “I knew it was best and didn’t want him to suffer. I told Dr. Ellison to go ahead and put him down.”

Ellison said the dog’s condition left her no choice. She was quoted as saying it was “suffering horribly,” and that “90 percent of its body was skinned.”

For Ellison, there was little doubt that the act was malicious.

“It was virtually skinned alive,” she said. “I could clearly see it was intentional. It was not an accident, clearly not an accident. Someone did this to her dog. I’ve never seen anything like this in 15 years…this is the worst I’ve seen.”

As horrifying as the details of the case are, it is gaining notoriety. The Alabama State Director of the Humane Society, Mindy Gilbert, said that the Humane Society of America are prepared to offer a reward of $2,500 to help solve the case, and the Alabama Humane Federation and the Animal Control Association have both offered to add $500 to the reward, totaling $3,500.

In addition, Chilton County Sheriff Kevin Davis said investigators are looking for details in the case.

“We do have an active case of possible animal cruelty, and there are not a whole lot of details,” Davis said. “We’re trying to get a forensics vet, similar to what we’d do to an autopsy of a human to determine exactly how it may have been caused.”

Davis said his hopes are to bring in a veterinarian from Auburn University who has done similar work in the past.

“We will, Tuesday, get this vet to do some work for us,” he said. “Right now, it’s in the beginning stages of the investigation.”

He went on to say that the details that were established were anything but easy to comprehend.

“The photos I was shown this morning are some gruesome, awful-looking photos,” he said. “There’s not a protocol for this.”