HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaiian Humane Society has opened a felony cruelty to animals investigation after a dog was found dead on Tantalus, with its head and paws cut off.
The grisly discovery was made Wednesday afternoon when two women went to Tantalus during their lunch break to enjoy the view. They were at a turnoff on Round Top Drive just below Puu Ualakaa State Park Wayside when they discovered the dog's body lying in the grass.
"I told my friend to go check, and she said, 'oh, it might have been a pig. But a closer look, it was a dog, and its head had been cut off and wasn't anywhere in the area," said Sarah Kleinschmidt.
Kleinschmidt was shocked by the discovery. She called the city, which referred her to the Hawaiian Humane Society.
"When we recovered the body we did a thorough inspection of it, and it doesn't look to us like this was an accident," said Jacque LeBlanc, Hawaiian Humane Society Community Relations Director. "It looks like the dog's head as intentionally decapitated, and his paws deliberately removed. We can only hope that this happened after he died."
Investigators were unable to determine exactly what kind of dog it was or its age. But they did find clues that it had belonged to someone.
"It had a flea collar and one of its legs was bandaged, possibly from an injury," said LeBlanc, "So we do believe that the dog was an owned animal."
A woman who lives on Tantalus said people often abandon animals there. She also said the dead dog looks familiar. He may have been seen roaming the area with a female dog.
"I probably saw those dogs, first saw those dogs maybe three weeks or a month ago, and other people on the mountain have sen them also," said resident Vicky Durand. "They've been seen on different places on the mountain.
The Humane Society said the maximum penalty for felony cruelty to animals is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
"I would want to know what happened if that was my pet," said Kleinschmidt, who has pets, including cats and birds. "I would at least want closure on what happened to it."
The Humane Society is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case. Anyone with information can call 356-2250.