Her name was Roxie, and animal lovers outraged over the hanging and beating of this puppy have amassed $21,500 for information leading to a conviction, one of the largest rewards ever for a Long Island animal abuse case.
Rescue groups were able to reach the owner and start cobbling together what may have happened to the 7-month-old pit bull mix, found Feb. 29 by children playing in a wooded area of Bellport, authorities said.
The reward started with $2,000 from Suffolk County SPCA, which is leading the investigation, but the pot has grown with more pledges, including $10,000 from the Smithtown-based Guardians of Rescue and $7,000 from Patchogue-based NY Bully Crew.
“They hung the dog on purpose,” said Craig Fields, Bully Crew founder. “They could have hidden what they did. They wanted everyone to see.”
Photos of Roxie while she was alive have been spread on social media, her eyes — one blue and one brown — just part of her unique look, along with her fawn, gray and white coloring.
Theories on why the dog was killed range from some sort of initiation to criminal activity to revenge or a warning “message” left to someone, say rescue group officials trying to track down leads.
She was found among trees off Martha and Bellport avenues. Although the puppy’s body did not show outward signs of injuries, a necropsy found strangulation, likely by hanging, and repeated blunt force trauma to her stomach, said Roy Gross, head of the Suffolk County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Rescue group volunteers have passed out hundreds of fliers to residents and drivers in Bellport and pinned them up on poles and in stores.
But Robert Misseri, head of the Guardians of Rescue, said many of them have been taken down less than 24 hours after the reward flyers were publicly posted.
“This is a first where so many flyers have been missing,” Misseri said. “It says to me that someone in the community doesn’t want that amount of money spread around. They don’t know if someone’s going to drop a call on them. That’s how they’re protecting themselves, by removing those flyers.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722. All calls will be kept confidential.
An earlier version of this article had the wrong last name for Robert Misseri.