A group of hikers making their way through Schuylkill County, Penn., made a grisly discovery in late May: a dog kennel, buried in a hole and covered in planks of wood, that housed the body of a dog police say was deliberately starved to death.
"I was in shock. I've never seen anything like what I seen. It was horrid. Horrid. I don't even have the words to explain it. Barbaric. Tortured. Horrid," animal cruelty officer Bridget Barder told WNEP.
The Ruth Steinert Memorial SPCA posted video and photos of the site on their Facebook page. The cage, wrapped in some sort of cloth, is shown buried in a small hole near a few trees. Piled atop the cage are tree branches and planks of wood. Police say the planks were pulled from a collapsed home nearby, according to the Morning Call.
The animal inside, a brindle pit bull with a white chest, was found starved to death, the paper reported. The SPCA believes the dog had been in the cage about two months, although how much of that time was spent dead or alive is unknown, according to WOLF.
"We are still in shock over this heartless, barbaric, sick, torturing act. This poor dog was locked in a crate shoved down a hole with blankets and wood covering the crate PURPOSELY left to die in a wooded area in Heckshersville," the SPCA wrote in a Facebook post.
"Whoever did this went to great effort and was sick," SPCA manager Lori Sult told WNEP. "They basically built a torture chamber for this dog."
Police say the dog died in "what appears to be an intentional torturing of the animal," according to the Patriot-News.
“Somebody put a lot of time and effort to hide it and somebody knew the area. Yeah, there’s no doubt. And there were so many other options. This poor dog was tortured,” Barder, the animal control officer, told WOLF.
"This dog died a horrible, horrible death. There was just so many other options. The dog did not have to die this way," Sult told WNEP."If you don't want to deal with the SPCAs, not that it would be the right thing to do, but if you're going to dump an animal, just release it."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for a reward, which the campaign says will go toward anyone who provides information leading to prosecution.