Extreme animal abuse case under investigation

The collar worn by the pit bull dragged on Route 81 is now in a police evidence pouch. / Photojournalist Brian Erb

The SPCA says it is closing in on a suspect, after a dog was dragged down Interstate 81, chained to a pickup truck.

Paul Morgan, Director of the Central New York SPCA, tells CNY Central the incident happened around 5:42p.m. Thursday. A motorist coming south on 81 in Syracuse saw the female pit bull being dragged by a chain behind a gray Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. The motorist sped up and signaled to the driver, but he sped up and pulled away. The chain snapped near the Franklin Street exit and the dog rolled into and then under the steel guard rail. The truck sped off, but the motorist stopped and called 911. Syracuse Police took the initial report, and have turned over the investigation to the SPCA.

Morgan says the dog was taken to the Bridge Street veterinarian office, where she had to be euthanized.

The dog's collar had a rabies tag, issued by the DeWitt Animal Hospital in 2010, but a trace showed she had no name. Morgan says: Those dog tags led back to the original owner. That original owner gave the dog to another person, that gave to another person. So, you've got 3 or 4 people involved here that owned the dog at one time.

Morgan says the people involved are 'known to his office.' We asked if cases involved animal cruelty, in the past? (Morgan:) Yes. (Laura:) Dog fighting in the past? (Morgan:) Possibly, yes. (Laura:) Drugs in the past? (Morgan:) Very possibly yes, a little bit of everything."

Morgan hopes to have the case wrapped up by mid-week. They're looking for a 'beat up, rusty framed' silver-gray Chevy Silverado pickup. DOT surveillance cameras did not help, because they only 'see' but do not record traffic. The chain that held the dog may have been tied to the bumper. The driver was alone. If the suspect is arrested, and convicted, there are no vehicle-related charges, and under Agriculture and Markets laws, the maximum penalties are 2 years in prison and $2,000 fines.

Anyone with information is asked to call the SPCA at 454-3469.