Burned dogs to get autopsies

January 06, 1998

Burned dogs to get autopsies


Staff Writer

HANCOCK - The burned carcasses of two dogs have been sent to the Maryland Department of Agriculture for autopsies to determine if they were alive when they were set on fire.

The dogs, one a barely recognizable puppy in a garbage bag, were dumped Sunday night in front of the Stine Road home of a Hancock firefighter.

Harry Sloan said both dogs were dead when he went outside to investigate around 9:15 p.m.

After seeing the carcasses, Sloan called the Maryland State Police and later notified the Washington County SPCA.

"We picked them up Monday and they will be autopsied in Frederick to determine cause of death," said SPCA Director Shelly Moore.


She said the Maryland law governing cruelty to animals says there must be evidence an animal suffered before it died. Whether the dogs were alive or dead when burned would have an impact on the legal issue.

Moore said finding out who is responsible for the death of the dogs will be difficult, and she and the police hope someone comes forward with information.

State Police Trooper 1st Class C.J. Barnard took pictures of the dogs, Sloan said Monday.

In addition, Sloan shot a video of the discovery in the hope it might yield some clues to the identity of the person who burned the dogs.

Moore said her agency was notified about the incident Sunday by telephone and e-mail.

"The dogs weren't burned here," Sloan said, drawing on his 10 years of experience as a firefighter in Hancock. "The road surface wasn't burned where they were.''

That firefighting knowledge, coupled with Vietnam War experiences, led Sloan to conclude the dogs were alive when they were set on fire.

He described the larger dog as a mixed pit bull/collie weighing between 30 and 60 pounds. The puppy's breed was unknown.

Sloan's said he found the dogs after a neighbor called him to ask if any of his dogs had been hit.

Sloan went down to check and discovered they weren't his dogs.

"We heard a car earlier but saw no fire,'' Sloan said. His home at 13777 Stine Road is in the area of the Happy Hills Campground.

Sloan said he is willing to work with the police and the SPCA to help find out who did this to the dogs.

"I'm going to be keeping a close eye on my dogs too," Sloan said.

Anyone with information about the incident may contact Maryland State Police at 301-739-2101 or the Washington County SPCA at 301-733-2060.

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