Investigation of dog-dragging death reopens as officials get new leads
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Saturday, September 08, 2012
9/08/12 at 8:07 AM
CLAREMORE - Based on new information, Rogers County District Attorney Janice Steidley said Friday that she has asked the Sheriff's Office to reopen an investigation into a dog-dragging death.
Steidley said she received a report from the Sheriff's Office on Wednesday about the death of Jetta, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever, whose carcass was found on the side of a road in Winganon, just northwest of Chelsea.
"Our office received new information as late as (Thursday) night," Steidley said in a statement. "Based upon the new information that has been brought to my attention I have requested the Rogers County Sheriff's Office re-open their case and investigate the new leads that have been presented to the District Attorney's Office.
"At this point, I consider this case to still be an open investigation and because of that I cannot discuss any facts or evidence that has been presented to this office."
Steidley didn't offer details on the new leads.
Deputy Jerry Smittle said Friday that Steidley has advised the Sheriff's Office not to comment on the case.
Once the investigation is complete, prosecutors will review the investigative report and determine whether anyone should be charged.
Sheriff Scott Walton said last weekend that someone had tied the dog's legs with wire and dragged it with a vehicle a little more than a mile before stopping. A trail of "flesh and fur" was left behind on the pavement, he said.
Several days later, however, Walton said a man had come forward and told authorities that he had shot an injured dog that was in distress. The sheriff went on to say that there was no indication that the dog had been dragged to death.
"Under the law the District Attorney's Office cannot charge a person with a crime based upon mere suspicion, speculation or hunches," Steidley said in her statement. "We have to make a decision based upon the evidence presented to us by the law enforcement agency. This is how every case is handled.
"We love animals and are working tirelessly to resolve this case. The fact that we are receiving and processing leads at night speaks volumes about the level of our commitment. We have heard the cries for justice loud and clear and are doing everything possible to answer them.
"At this point, the contacts with our office or the sheriff's office that will move the case forward are those which involve direct physical evidence or witnesses who actually saw any kind of interaction between Jetta and a person or persons between August 29 and September 1."
Anyone with that specific information is urged to call the Sheriff's Office's tip line at 918-341-3620.
Original Print Headline: DA: New lead spurs more inquiry into dog's death
Rhett Morgan 918-581-8395