Tribune-Courier General Manager
Ladonna Melton said her two German Shepherds, Sha Sha and G, were like family. When they went missing from the Melton’s Gilbertsville home a couple of weeks ago a determined effort was mounted to find them. Ladonna ran ads in the paper, posted fliers, contacted animal shelters and waged a facebook campaign hoping someone would find her beloved pets.
Last Thursday, the search came to an end when the dogs were found in the swimming pool of a vacant house near the Melton’s home.
The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office investigated and concluded they do not believe there was foul play involved, saying the dogs likely climbed into the pool and were unable to get out.
But Melton isn’t satisfied with that explanation.
She thinks someone stole her dogs, killed them and dumped their bodies in the pool.
Now she says Justice Rescue, an animal advocacy group from Woodlyn, Pa. will help investigate Sha Sha and G’s deaths. There is also a $1000 reward for information.
Melton has considered every possibility surrounding the disappearance and deaths of the dogs, including the scenario proposed by the sheriff’s office, but all the evidence, she says, leads her to believe there was something more sinister at work.
“Someone is stealing dogs and something needs to be done. I’ve heard of so many cases of people’s animals that have gone missing lately. Someone really needs to do something about it,” Melton said.
According to Melton there was no evidence of the dogs having attempted to claw their way out of the pool, no damage to the pool’s cover, and one of the dog’s bodies was found on top of pool floats.
“A drowning dog doesn’t climb on top of a pool float,” said Melton. “Somebody put him there. The dogs’ bodies were not together in the pool. Everybody knows if an animal is in distress they would have tried to help each other. But their bodies weren’t together.”
Melton said Sheriff’s deputies suggested the dogs went to the pool to get a drink, but she noted there is a creek just feet away from the property and Melton said her dogs would have gone there or come home to drink rather than drinking chlorinated pool water.
“I wish my experience had turned out different, but I hope this group can help us to change the way things like this are handled,” said Melton.
There are others in the county who share Melton’s concerns that animals are being stolen.
Misti Long-Wagner, a former employee of the Marshall County Animal Shelter, said she has seen the evidence and is warning the public to keep their animals contained.
“The area in which these dogs went missing has a very high rate of missing dogs. I also have had numerous reports over the past 3 years of people seeing a white pickup truck taking dogs from yards. A lot of people dismissed it as animal control, but it was not. At that time, our animal wardens drove a red truck and a beige truck,” said Wagner. “ I also received reports of a black truck and an older model car, possibly an Oldsmobile.”
David Maddox with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office said last week to his knowledge this is the first case of missing animals that has been reported throughout the couny in recent memory.
Anyone with information about the disappearance of the two German Shepherds, Sha Sha and G, are asked to contact Marshall County Crime Stoppers at 270-527-COPS.