Graphic: Skinned dog found dead in dumpster at Phoenix apartment complex

Arizona Humane Society says animal abuse investigations are already up by more than 1,500 this year compared to last year.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 3:41 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 9:20 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) Phoenix police and the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) are investigating after a dead dog that had been skinned was found in an apartment complex dumpster.

Warning: Graphic details below. Discretion advised.

Around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, police responded to an apartment complex in the area of 23rd Avenue and Happy Valley Road after someone reported a dead dog in a dumpster. Officers arrived and contacted AHS to assist in the investigation after the disturbing discovery. AHS says the dog, possibly a greyhound, was found partially inside a garbage bag with its back legs exposed. The Humane Society says the only hair left on the dog was on its feet.

After the dog was removed from the dumpster, a burnt cigarette was also found in its mouth. Police collected the cigarette and trash bag as evidence while the dog’s body was taken to AHS. The body will soon be transported to Midwestern University for a necropsy. Police say detectives will fully investigate the case.

Tracy Miiller is the AHS Director of Field Operations. She says this case is disturbing and unlike anything she’s seen before. “So, it really hit us real hard since it’s really not anything we usually prepare ourselves for,” she said. “It did appear that it was done by someone who’s very familiar with possibly field dressing or hunting because it was very precise and very particular on how the animal was skinned,” said Miiller. “We kind of put ourselves in that position and what if it was my animal? So, it’s very hard to be able to see these on a day-to-day basis.”

While this case is especially gruesome and unique, the AHS said animal cruelty investigations are on the rise across the valley, up 21% from last year. Miiller said it’s unclear what’s causing the increase, but it’s alarming. “It’s very frustrating for me and for my team to experience the increase of calls and the level of evil that has seemed to jumped out and faced everybody here in Arizona,” she said.

A study from the FBI ranks Arizona as the state with the 11th highest number of animal abuse cases last year and new numbers from the Arizona Humane Society show investigations are already up by more than 1,500 this year compared to last year. See the statistics below.

Current year-to-date

Total InvestigationsTotal Calls for Service
2023: 8,7762023: 13,621
2022: 7,2162022: 11,027
2021: 6,2002021: 9,074

In this case, Phoenix police were able to collect evidence at the scene and have an open investigation. “It is really important for us to find who did this because we don’t know if it was their pet. We don’t know if it was someone else’s pet that they potentially tortured and did this to and we definitely don’t want this to happen to any other animals,” said Miiller.

The Humane Society said they’re also seeing more surrenders, which is putting the shelter over capacity and straining resources. In September, we saw a high-profile investigation into a case where more than 50 dogs were found in horrific conditions in Chandler. We’re told 13 dogs from that home remain in AHS’s care and what makes that case different is the dire medical condition of each dog. The Humane Society said animal hoarding is relatively common and they have seven open cases right now involving homes with 20-plus dogs.

Police said this latest case is a felony and ask anyone with any information to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (480-948-6377) or 480-TESTIGO (480-837-8446). You may be eligible for a reward.

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