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Rescue group finds skinned puppy on the Red Lake Reservation

The autopsy confirmed the puppy had been skinned by a human being.

The autopsy confirmed the puppy had been skinned by a human being. Anna Dudkova, Unsplash.com

Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue has had a very simple goal since its founding in 2006: Help animals on the Red Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. Usually that means spaying or neutering, the occasional rescue and rehoming of strays, and keeping food on hand for pet owners in need.

But on March 26, the rescue received a call about an animal it couldn’t help. (Warning: The following image is graphic.)

A 7-month-old German shepherd puppy had been found in the middle of Ponemah Highway. Rather, its skin had been found – just a twining, empty sock of fur leading up to the little head.

Police are investigating what appears to be the skinned hide of a German shepherd puppy.

Police are investigating what appears to be the skinned hide of a German shepherd puppy. Red Lake Rosie's Rescue

Rescue workers were “horrified,” according to a Facebook post. (The rescue itself declined to comment.) But they wasted no time getting the remains to a vet.

The vet confirmed the workers’ suspicions. The puppy had been skinned. The autopsy uncovered slashes that had been done “by a human with a knife.” Things got worse when they located the owner, who lived in the neighborhood. The puppy had been named Smoky.

The rescue reported the incident to the Red Lake Police Department, which is in the process of setting up a reward funded by the Humane Society for any information from the public. (The police department didn’t respond to interview requests.)

In the meantime, the post has gathered hundreds of comments, many of them hovering between hurt, confusion, and outrage. They call the act “unthinkable,” “evil,” a “most sickening act of cruelty.” They speculate on whether the perpetrator is a sociopath, and whether human victims would follow. A few offered to raise money for a reward themselves.

But as of right now, there’s little out there in terms of solace, or answers. Only the understanding that there once was a puppy named Smoky, and something terrible happened to him.

If you have any information about what happened to Smoky, contact the Red Lake Police Department.