OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - Some pet owners in Okeechobee fear someone is purposely hurting their dogs, after at least three have been shot recently and another sliced with a machete.
For now, nothing ties them together.
But the pet owners want to get the word out just in case they are related.
Danielle Groover said her pit bull mix, Koda, was killed just this week.
She said she let her dogs out in their massive, fenced-in yard Tuesday morning, as she always does.
Not long after when she called them back inside, Koda didn’t return. She says the dog never goes far, so she was immediately worried.
“I start walking. I walk down the streets, ask the neighbors, I ask everyone who drives by. Nothing.”
She called every vet and shelter. No one had Koda.
The next morning, her search continued. She finally got a phone call from her neighbor.
“We found Koda but it’s not good. I was like… sigh. She said walk right in front of the house and look in the ditch.”
Groover found Koda in a ditch with two bullet wounds: One on a hind leg and one on their back.
“We know he didn’t die instantly which is heart breaking,” Groover said.
She voiced her heartbreak on social media. She said her dog was timid, and would not have tried to hurt anyone.
“How horrific of a person do you have to be to commit something like that,” Groover said.
It didn’t take long for others to share Groover’s story. That’s when she learned she wasn’t alone.
Another man, who did not want to speak on camera, said his pit bull was shot three times in the head and killed, while tethered inside its fenced in yard within the last month.
The owner contacted law enforcement and animal control, he said.
Another pit bull owner chimed in on social media and also said their pit bull had been shot in the same neighborhood recently.
Another dog owner shared a picture of their dog, saying it had been sliced with a machete and it’s teeth had been busted out.
All, except Groover, live in the Basswood community of Okeechobee. Groover lives just a couple miles from them.
She wants all pet owners to take note.
“I want other dog owners to be aware that someone’s out there doing this if they are related. And if not, at least more people are keeping their dogs closer to home so incidents like this don’t happen.”
Groover said two officers and animal control took reports on her case.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office only confirmed taking a report for Groover’s case and said it is investigating.
A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said there is a leash law in Okeechobee and if dogs get out and go to a neighbor’s house and chase, harm or kill their livestock, the dog may be shot being on their property.
Groover said her dog was found outside a fenced in area where there was livestock, but was not inside the fence. She also said her dog does not pursue cattle.