The Animal Legal Defense Fund announced this week it is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or arrests in the brutal fatal beating of a pit bull in Northern California.
The incident occurred in Fairfield, northeast of San Francisco, on Sept. 28, according to a Monday news release from the animal legal advocacy organization.
A resident went to investigate a “loud thumping” noise in an alley behind his home when he came upon three men standing around a pit bull. The dog was chained to a fence, and only its hind legs could reach the ground, the release stated.
One of the men then struck the dog in a head with a baseball bat, according to the release.
“Literally they had the chain strangling him,” the witness, Tom Turner, told Bay Area television station KNTV. “You could see the dog was on his hind quarters and the guy was cracking his skull.”
The trio realized someone was watching them and immediately fled, leaving the dog tied up with severe injuries, including a fractured skull.
The witnesses called police while a neighbor immediately rushed the tan-colored dog to the Solano County Animal Shelter.
“The dog was friendly. We were driving it to the shelter,” Mekayla Benton told KNTV. “It tried to smile as were going there. You could tell it had the biggest headache, but after all that, it wasn’t aggressive at all.”
The dog, who was only about 4 years old, died overnight.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund nicknamed the dog “Justice” — and that’s exactly what officials with the organization say they are seeking for the pit bull.
“This dog suffered a senseless and brutal act of violence, and we urge anyone with information to come forward,” Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said in the release. “Studies have consistently demonstrated a link between animal cruelty and violence against humans.”
The witness described one of the men as a slim black man in his 20s, but police have not released any detailed suspect descriptions. The suspect vehicle is believed to be a 2004 or 2005 Chevy Tahoe, and has a partial license place of “WB2V.”
“These guys need to be locked up and get some mental health because there’s something wrong,” Turner told the station. “It’s sick. … There’s something wrong in America to treat an animal or a person like that.”
Anyone with information is urged to call Fairfield Police Department Dispatch Center at 707-428-7300, the department’s tip line at 707-428-7345, or Solano Crime Stoppers at 707-644-7867.