A dog was found skinned and without its tail near the Nisqually River Friday night, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident is being investigated as a case of first-degree animal cruelty since the dog did not appear to die from natural causes, Lt. Tim Rudloff said Monday.
Officials don’t know if the dog’s death is related to a recent string of cat mutilations in Thurston County.
Detective Carrie Nastansky, who also is investigating the cat deaths, has been assigned to the dog case, he said.
About 6:45 p.m. Friday, some people discovered the dog while walking near a wheelchair access site to the Nisqually River at 11642 Sixth Ave. SE.
The dog didn’t have any bite marks and its tail was cut off, Rudloff said. Investigators couldn’t tell if the dog died at the scene or had been dropped off, he said.
The dog breed wasn’t immediately known but it appeared to weigh 50-60 pounds.
A story was circulating on social media about another dead dog being found at Capital City Golf Course off Yelm Highway near Lacey. Rudloff said deputies looked into the report but did not find anything.