GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Pet owners are talking about what seems to be a spike in animal cruelty cases, and they're looking for answers.
First, two dead dogs were mutilated by a train in Orchard Mesa. Investigators are still trying to figure out how the dogs got there in the first place.
Most recently, one of two missing dogs that returned home in Pear Park had a gunshot wound in its leg. The other god is still missing. Authorities are looking into whether or not the dog was messing with the neighbor’s livestock. If so, there would be no charges.
The sheriff's office said the two animal cruelty cases aren't related.
“It really surprised me of the brutality of this last one, it makes me worried for my own dogs,” said Angela Johnson, a local dog owner.
According to the sheriff’s office, animal cruelty can be something as minor poking a stick though a fence at a dog; to livestock being neglected; to animals being shot.
In 2016, the sheriff’s office saw 15 cases of animal cruelty or animal abuse.Of those 15, only three cases had charges associated with them.
“When we get a report, usually the animal was found; we don't always have the luxury of having a suspect associated with that case,” said Mesa County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Megan Terlecky.
Leidi Ponce, who owns the dog shot in Pear Park, is concerned there is a greater problem.
“It’s just really weird. It happened to not just to our dogs but to other two dogs. I know it’s hard to blame anybody because there are no witnesses,” said Leidi Ponce.
The cases are still under investigation and no one has been charged at this time.
“I can't picture somebody intentionally hurting an animal,” said Mary Jo Depry, a dog owner. “They can't talk for themselves.”
“As animal owners, we need to be very vigilant where our dogs are and what's happening with them. I think that's really important to help prevent something like this,” said Denise Kelly.