Police ask for public’s help after small dog set on fire at West Haven beach

New Haven

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Police are asking for the public’s help after a small dog was killed after being set on fire at a West Haven beach.

Police say that at around 10 a.m. Friday, officers responded to the area of Beach Street, near Third Avenue/Second Avenue, for the report of a uncontained fire in the Sandy Point Beach parking lot.

Crews then extinguished the flames, before finding a small dog dead at the source of the fire.

An initial investigation suggests that the dog had been set on fire in that parking lot and abandoned there. An accelerant may have also been used.

The dog was described as possibly a 1-year-old “mini Schnauzer” with cropped ears and a cropped tail.

Meli Garthwait runs a dog rescue group in the area, and happens to live right next to the beach. She said some people were lighting off fireworks in that parking lot on the night of the 4th. She says, however, her neighbor hear something more.

“My neighbor up the street told me after the fact that he had heard some very bad, like a dog screaming like it was being tortured or hurt for a couple of minutes,” Garthwait said.

A white pickup truck was in the area that night, and police spoke to its owner. They say the person in the truck is not a suspect and is not involved with the incident, but he did assist with the investigation, police said.

Garthwait’s dog rescue Facebook page is stacking up pledges and donations to try to make the reward big enough to flush the dog killer out.

“I hope that we can keep growing it and growing it and growing it just to make that person who knows something come forward because “we deserve to give the puppy justice,” Garthwait said.

PETA is also offering a reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.

PETA released a statement on the incident saying,

“If this little dog was alive when he or she was set on fire, the agony and terror were likely intense and prolonged and are almost unimaginable. We must find and punish the person responsible for this horrific act, and if the animal’s suffering isn’t enough of a motivation, the link between cruelty to animals and violence against humans is well established, so this dog’s killer must be held accountable and stopped from hurting anyone else. If police have no leads in this case, PETA will offer a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction on cruelty charges of whoever was responsible for this dog’s death.”

PETA Senior Director Stephanie Bell

Police ask anyone who may have seen the fire or suspicious activity in the area between 10 p.m. July 4 and 1 a.m. July 5 to contact the West Haven Police Department (203) 937-3900.

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