Two people from a lumber mill who went looking at timber tracts in a remote part of an Arkansas forest Thursday weren't expecting what they found: at least 56 dead dogs, plus more that were wounded, KY3 reports. The Searcy County sheriff says someone brought the dogs out to the woods, poisoned them, and "systematically just start[ed] shooting" at them. Whoever was responsible "just [left] them lying" on the ground without making sure they were dead, the sheriff adds; a few other dogs survived the massacre, and animal shelter workers have been trying to find all the survivors, but one was so badly injured he had to be euthanized later.
Investigators are still processing the crime scene, and haven't named any suspects, but the sheriff says he doesn't believe the suspect or suspects stole people's pet dogs. The Harrison Daily notes that a dog rescue operation was closed down in the area a few years back, but it's not clear whether these dogs were related to that. Whoever did it could face felony charges. Four dogs that have been rescued so far are at the county's Humane Society shelter. "They could have found homes for these dogs. Why? Just why?" says the shelter's treasurer. "Who could hurt him?" she says of one dog in particular, who seemed eager for human affection when he was saved. "Why would you hurt him?" (This dog was found with 19 live rounds in his stomach.)