Larimer Humane Society is joining forces with the Loveland Police Department to investigate two similar suspicious dog deaths and possible animal cruelty cases.
A couple walking their dog last Thursday noticed a life preserver washed up by the Big Thompson River. Upon picking it up, the couple saw that it was attached to a decapitated puppy.
"(My husband) picked it up, and there was something attached to it,” Stacee Thomas told 7News. “It just was white and soggy, and I was like, 'What's that?'"
Lab tests found that it was a 6-month-old puppy that had died about three weeks prior, but its remains were too decomposed to ascertain how it died. According to the Reporter Herald, the animal was in such bad shape that until testing proved it was a puppy, investigators weren't sure if it was a dog, cat or even a raccoon.
Its back legs had been tied with nylon rope while the front legs had been tied to the life jacket and its head was missing.
Just five days prior to the discovery of the decapitated puppy, the body of a female adult dog had been found washed ashore Loveland's Horseshoe Lake on April 21.
The Associated Press reports that her muzzle and front paws had been bound with duct tape. She also died an estimated three weeks ago.
A necropsy, or animal autopsy, conducted by Colorado State University on the adult dog revealed no other signs of trauma or broken bones.
Authorities do not yet know if the incidents are linked and are currently treating both incidents as separate cases.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 221-6868 or submit information online at stopcriminals.org.