A Townsend woman said she wants justice after she found her dog dead, hanging from a rope in her kennel.
"The last time I saw Dutchess alive was Sunday night," said JoAnn McDowell, who owns several dogs, including two beagles. "About 12:30 Monday afternoon, I went to let the dogs out again and that's when I looked over and saw Dutchess hanging in her kennel."
McDowell said she called her brother-in-law, who lives next door.
"I thought Oh my goodness, I've tied her wrong or something, and I thought she had hung herself. And so I was crying," said McDowell.
Her brother-in-law, Jerry Rolf, said he untied the dog and realized she couldn't have hanged herself.
"Her toenails were just barely touching the ground so I don't see how she could have got herself up that far, thread the rope through the link in the chain, tied it back around the pole, and hung herself," said Rolf.
The kennel is located in the yard behind McDowell's home. The rope the dog was hanging from was used to secure the gate of the chain-link kennel. It had been run through the fence and through the dog's collar, then tied up high so that the dog would strangle.
"They hung her, and she hung there and suffered before she died. And still now, it makes me sick," said McDowell.
The Blount County Sheriff's Office responded to the animal cruelty call, and questioned neighbors, including a potential suspect.
According to the report, the officer noticed blood on the dog and the rope, but reported that he was unable to obtain any physical evidence because the woman had entered the kennel when she saw what had happened to her dog.
Rolf told police a neighbor threatened his sister-in-law's dogs,saying he would "put a bullet" in them if they came on his property again.
According to the incident report, the officer talked to the neighbor, who said he didn't know what happened to the dog, "but I can tell you why someone would want to do it." He said another dog frequently used the bathroom in his yard, and that he'd called animal control about the dogs numerous times but nothing was done.
The officer also noted the man "was hesitant to speak to me and was shaking" and did not make eye contact with him.
"We live in Townsend. There's bears and raccoon and possums and rabbits that go through our yard all the time. And they're going to bark," said McDowell.
"That's cruelty right there. Pure cruelty," said Rolf. "This is a little family community right here. We shouldn't have people getting threats and animals getting killed and suffering like that. It's just ridiculous."
Officers were back at the neighbors home Wednesday. Now, McDowell and Rolf hope whoever is responsible for Dutchess' death is arrested.
"It's sad to think that there's somebody in my community that would do that to an animal," said McDowell "It blows my mind that anyone thinks that's ok and I hope that if someone knows anything about it, they heard about it, they saw it, that they'll come forward." So that the person that done it can be punished and rightfully so."
McDowell said Dutchess' niece, Shy, another beagle, has been too scared to come out of her dog house since the incident.
Dutchess was buried in the yard, with a cross marking the grave.
No arrests have been made.