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No foul play suspected in dog's death, county says
Newton County

COVINGTON, Ga. — A social media post following the discovery of a dog bound with rope lying next to the 36 Bypass near Flat Shoals Road Monday, Dec.16 has led to a Go Fund Me campaign aimed at raising reward money in hopes of finding the person responsible. 

The incident is also being investigated by the Newton County District Attorney along with Newton County Animal Control.

Mansfield resident Dana Clark said she first spotted the black female dog with a blue and white rope tied around its feet and neck at 4 p.m. on Monday and called the Newton County Sheriff’s Department’s main number to notify authorities. 

Clark said she spoke with a dispatcher who told her Newton County Animal Control would be notified. But when Clark and her fiancé, William Bitty, found the dog still laying by the road Tuesday morning, they drove to animal control and officers followed them to retrieve the dog, which was by then deceased. 

“The poor dog is just on the side of the road tied up with its feet tied to its neck and it’s horrible,” Bitty said about finding the dog when contacted this week. He continued by saying he was told authorities were initially unable to locate the dog following the original report on Monday. 

Bitty and Clark shared the experience on Facebook, which immediately sparked outrage among citizens determined to find the person responsible by generating a $1,000 reward through a Go Fund Me account titled “Justice for this dog!!!” The account has raised $545 as of Friday morning, Dec. 20.

While initial reports claimed the bound dog was thrown from a vehicle, a necropsy examination performed by animal control found the dog had no injuries suggesting trauma or foul play, according to Newton County Public Information Officer Bryan Fazio. 

“We received notification of a dog on the side of the road and we went and picked up the dog,” Fazio said. “Results of the necropsy showed it doesn’t appear there was any foul play.”

Despite the examination revealing no apparent trauma and the possibility the rope was instead used to transport the animal, the fact that an incapacitated animal with its legs bound together remained on the side of the road for 18 hours received sharp criticism in online comments questioning why authorities did not respond fast enough to what many citizens felt was a crime of animal abuse. 

But according to Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown, his office has no record of Clark’s call to the main office number on Monday afternoon. 

“The Sheriff’s Department had no involvement whatsoever and we have no record of any call,” Brown said.” I do know the DA’s office and animal control are looking into the matter.”

The rope found with the dog has been preserved as evidence that may lead to the identification of the owner or person who left the dog by the road. 

Pictures of the dog and the rope can be viewed on the Go Fund Me page “Justice for the dog!!!”