Days after a 7-month-old pit bull was found lying in the cold with gunshot wounds to its legs and chest, dog owners in the area are still shocked and on high alert.

The puppy was found Saturday morning, the Anchorage Police Department says, making this the third case of animal cruelty in Anchorage in as many months. The incident happened in the area of Connor’s Bog dog park, where many residents take their pets to play.

“I just, I can’t fathom it,” said Jane Arnold. “They’re just the most loyal and truest friends you can ever have.”

Another resident summed up the incident as “shocking.”

“I would never imagine that someone would do that to an animal,” said Kelly Wilson.

Police said a passer-by found the injured puppy early Saturday morning near the intersection of Jewel Lake Road and International Airport Road. The good Samaritan rushed the dog to an animal hospital.

“The dog sustained wounds to its front legs, one of the legs was pretty much shattered,” said APD spokeswoman Anita Shell. “Also, an injury to its chest where a bullet had entered and exited into its side, and then another bullet lodged into a fatty area.”

Amazingly, the puppy made it through surgery and is said to be in good spirits, APD says. As of Monday morning, however, no one has come forward to claim the dog.

Back in October, a pit bull that ran away from home was discovered hanging from a tree with his throat slashed near East 20th Avenue. And this past Thursday, an Alaska Search and Rescue Dog named Little Su was poisoned by a concoction of chicken and antifreeze. Police want to get the word out that extreme acts of animal cruelty like these carry some serious punishments.

“It’s a felony in this state to do what this person did to this animal, leaving it there to die, causing it severe physical pain,” Shell said, adding that these crimes carry fines of up to $5,000 and five years in prison.

Dog owners at Connor’s Bog say they’re not taking the string of violence lightly.

“It’s only five minutes from our home. We spend a lot of time here,” said Anisa Nelson. “My dogs run loose here. It kind of scares me about what might be around in the park and what my dogs might get into. It just makes me watch them a little closer.”

Anchorage police are encouraging anyone with information on these cases to contact Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP. The Humane Society of the United States is offering $5,000 as a reward for information leading to the identification and arrest in all three incidents.

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