By Alana Melanson
WINCHENDON -- A Winchendon family believes someone purposely killed their beagle puppy, Snoopy, after he was found hanging from a tree in their yard Monday evening.
"It was the first time we'd ever put him outside," Allyson Clark said by phone Wednesday afternoon.
The family had only had the puppy for about six weeks. Clark said Snoopy was outside about 25 minutes on his dog line in the yard on the side of their Western Avenue home when she sent her 10-year-old daughter, Katelyn, to check on him before dinner. The youngster found him hanging about four feet off the ground.
She said Katelyn called to her older sister, Brittany, 20 -- for whom Snoopy had been a gift -- for help in untangling the dog. When the elder sister went outside, Clark said she heard her scream.
Clark said she dropped what she was doing to run outside and was horrified by what she saw.
"He was tied in so many knots," she said. "It took two of us to untie him."
"It's the sickest thing I've seen in my life," she added.
Clark said there is no chance Snoopy tangled himself up on his own. She said a line that had been used to hold up a bird feeder, several feet from the ground and previously wrapped around a tree, had been unwrapped and knotted several times to hang the pup.
While the family only had Snoopy for a short time, Clark said he meant a lot to them.
"He brought lot of joy, a lot of life to our house," she said. "He was our baby."
Clark said her family has lived in the quiet neighborhood, which she described as a safe and wonderful community to raise children, for 15 years without incident. While they aren't close with their neighbors, she said they are friendly and always wave and say hello to each other.
One neighbor reported seeing something suspicious to Clark after the incident.
"She said she had seen a gentleman keep coming out of our woods, even in the middle of night," she said. "She thought we had many sons, but we only have one son and three daughters."
Clark, who is a light sleeper, said she has heard noises outside at night for several months, but figured they were due to the large amount of wildlife that live around the bog in their backyard.
"I didn't think much of it," she said. "Now, to put all of this together, I'm thinking we have a real problem."
Prior to this incident, Clark said, cigarette butts were also found next to the home. No one in the family smokes.
Several people have offered to add to the $100 reward the Clarks are offering to find the person who did this to Snoopy. Clark said she will be working with the Winchendon Police Department to establish a reward fund.
Winchendon Police Lt. David Walsh said the department is conducting an investigation in conjunction with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He declined offer any further details, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.
Anyone with any relevant information is asked to call Det. Kevin Wolski at 978-297-1212.
The Clark family has also set up an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, for anyone who may not feel comfortable talking with police.
"They murdered my pet," Clark said. "I want them found. I want them tried. I want them to go to jail for what they've done."
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