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Authorities Investigating Dog Shot, Found Dead in Milk Crate


A dog — who authorities believe suffered a gunshot wound — was found dead in a milk crate on July 8, 2023. Police in New Haven, Connecticut, are still investigating the heartbreaking incident of animal cruelty, citing an increase in such acts this year. A local animal rights organization is offering a reward to catch the perpetrator, who they are calling a danger to the community.

Dog shot and left by dumpsters

The dog, a 6-month-old brindle puppy, was found dead on Poplar Street in the Fair Haven community of New Haven County last week. Police were alerted to the scene by a local resident who discovered the lifeless pup in a milk crate. According to WFSB, law enforcement called officers from animal control to the area to confirm how the dog was killed.

New Haven Police, who named the dog “Justice,” had the pup “transported to a local veterinary hospital, where his injuries were deemed consistent with a gunshot wound.” The police informed the public that “a full necropsy was scheduled to be conducted to uncover additional information.” A “necropsy” is the term for an animal autopsy.

Local organization offering reward

A local animal rights organization, Desmond’s Army, has stepped in to offer a reward to catch the culprit of this heinous crime. What began as a $1,500 reward has now grown to a $3,000 incentive.

NBC Connecticut spoke with the vice president of the organization, Linda Pleva. Distraught by the incident, Pleva remarked, “It was a baby, just a puppy. Why on earth? Why on earth would somebody feel a need to shoot a puppy? And then to disgrace it even further by putting it in a milk crate and dumping it by a dumpster?”

Subsequently, officers were canvassing the area again on Thursday, according to WTNH. The department is still hoping to uncover clues which can lead to an arrest. Cpt. Rose Dell urged residents to come forward with information or any surveillance videos they may have. She said, “This is an atrocious crime, and we’ve seen more incidents lately of animal abuse.”

A Facebook post from the New Haven PD is encouraging locals to share any tips — big or small — to progress the investigation. People with knowledge of the crime should contact the Shooting Task Force at 475-224-0143.

New Haven Police have a history of advocating for pups. In June, the city swore in its first therapy dog — a 3-year-old Labrador Retriever named Finn.

Increased incidents of animal cruelty

Zilla Cannamella, who works with Desmond’s Army, spoke with WFSB about the increase in animal cruelty cases the group has seen this year. Members of the organization regularly appear in court to advocate for abandoned and abused animals. According to Cannamella, the animal rights group is “currently going to approximately 60 cases throughout the state.” Emphatically, she continued, “I don’t know what’s going on in the state, but it need to stop. And we’re very happy New Haven is taking it very seriously.”

This isn’t the first animal abuse case out of Connecticut to make national news this year. Last month, an animal groomer in Newtown was charged with improperly restraining a dog in her care after the Poodle went unconscious.

Other shocking incidents of animals being abused have made headlines across the country this summer. Recently, a Yorkshire Terrier succumbed to injuries after a month-long fight to recover from being brutally kicked by a stranger in Venice Beach. Earlier this week, a Great Pyrenees puppy suffered a broken tibia after being thrown from a moving car in the Atlanta area.

If you suspect animal abuse or witness incidents of animal cruelty, immediately report the details to local authorities. You could save a life.


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