CLEARWATER — Lucky, an adorable little collie mix puppy, bounded out of his cage at SPCA Tampa Bay on Monday, a frog toy in his mouth.
Not far away, his sister's body lay stiff and cold in a refrigerator waiting for a necropsy. She appeared to have died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Just hours before, a citizen found the pups in the parking lot of a small medical building parking lot at 1384 Pierce St. in Clearwater. But how they got there is still a mystery.
The citizen contacted Clearwater police. They discovered the female pup lying dead next to a large plastic container full of dry dog food, blood trickling from her mouth and head.
Her brother was playing in the grass nearby, distracted from the horror by distraught neighbors.
According to Elizabeth Daly-Watts, Clearwater police spokeswoman, investigators don't know who abandoned the animals at the parking lot or how the female's head was smashed.
So investigators have three questions that must be answered: Who abandoned the puppies, who killed the female and why?
The dogs appeared to be in good health. They were well fed and didn't have fleas. Officials believe the pups were abandoned between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Lucky, 1 1/2 months old, will be held at SPCA Tampa Bay for seven days. If the owner does not come forward, the pup will be put up for adoption.
Marissa Segundo, spokeswoman for SPCA Tampa Bay, said the female appears to be the victim of animal cruelty.
"She had blood on her muzzle and severe trauma to her head," she said.
A postmortem found the puppy had rigor mortis and dried blood on her muzzle, front legs and chest area.
There was no evidence of bruises or hemorrhage and no corresponding skin lesions. There was also no evidence of road rash that would suggest she had been hit by a car.
If you have any information about this crime, call the Clearwater Police Department at (727) 562-4422.