Volunteers John Gibbs and Carissa Curry remove remains from the backyard of a Luann Avenue home. The remains are suspected to be those of a missing dog that was linked to a New York murder.
The buried remains of a missing 130-pound dogo argentino sent to Toledo from New York City last year after its role in a murder case was concluded were exhumed Sunday by an animal advocacy agency that had searched for the animal for nine months.
The remains of Bones were dug from the backyard of the former home of Kathy Sutter, who was entrusted with the dog to deal with its aggression issues.
Bones created a sensation in New York in November, 2011, when its owner, Shaun Dyer, allegedly killed his roommate. The victim, David Shada, had bite marks, leading to allegations that its owner sicced Bones on Mr. Shada.
PHOTO GALLERY: Dog's remains found in Toledo backyard
The dog was seized and its lengthy incarceration fueled an outcry among animal-rights groups. Bones eventually was exonerated and released to the Lexus Project, a legal defense agency for dogs that face confinement or death.
The Lexus Project sent the dog to Ms. Sutter, who reported it stolen from her home on Jan. 5 while she was attending a funeral.
Robin Mittasch, co-founder of the Lexus Project of Oceanside, N.Y., said she doubted Ms. Sutter’s story from the beginning.
Searches were conducted throughout the West Toledo neighborhood where Ms. Sutter operated her Northwest Ohio Underdog Rescue Inc.
Acting on a tip, two Toledo members of the Lexus Project went to Ms. Sutter’s former home 4905 Luann Ave. on Sunday morning and began digging.
A missing-dog flyer was posted in January after Kathy Sutter reported that the dogo argentino had been stolen from her home in January.
Carissa Curry of Toledo, a regional representative for the Lexus Project, said her colleague, John Gibbs of Toledo, had dug one hole without finding anything when she arrived around 10 a.m. He began a second hole when his shovel uncovered a quilt blanket.
“Once we got the dog out, we opened the blanket to confirm what it was,” she said, describing the remains of a dog.
Police were called and an officer wrote an incident report, based on what Mr. Gibbs and Ms. Curry said.
Ms. Curry said the officer would not view the backyard nor the remains and suggested the group report its findings to the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office on Monday.
Ms. Sutter, who moved from Luann Avenue in January, denied that the remains found in her backyard were those of Bones.
“That is news to me,” she replied when asked if she was aware of the discovery on her property. “This is the first I’m hearing of anything.”
Ms. Sutter, who repeated her contention that Bones was stolen, said she moved away because she was being stalked by animal-rights group members.
“It’s not Bones,” she said of the remains.
Mr. Gibbs, who became involved in the dog’s search in January by putting up posters, took the dog’s remains to a veterinarian, who scanned for a microchip that was inserted into Bones.
Ms. Mittasch and Mr. Gibbs said Sunday night that the necropsy and microchip confirmed the remains as those of Bones.
The remains exhumed from the yard weighed about 50 pounds, down from the dog’s original weight of 130, Mr. Gibbs said.
Ms. Mittasch said she suspects Bones became ill, was denied veterinarian care, and eventually starved.
Ms. Mittasch said the Lexus Project was “considering pursuing legal avenues. We will speak to local attorneys to see what our options are,” she said.
The confirmation of the remains by the Lexus Project lit up social media, with scores of comments posted on the agency’s Facebook page calling for Ms. Sutter to be punished and for stricter laws governing dogs and their care.
Contact Jim Sielicki at: email@example.com or 419-724-6050.