Following a report of a dog that was taken and abused near Wisconsin Rapids on New Year's Eve, more people have come forward to say their dogs disappeared from the same neighborhood.
"I remember it like it was yesterday," said Pamela Elmhorst, as she remembered the event that is now three-years-old.
Elmhorst says the dog she and her husband Brian had had for 11 years didn't come back one day. She says they found their dog, Dodger, dead in a ditch two days later, with what looked like a bullet wound.
"Brian believes that he was shot in the head because there was an open wound right on top." Elmhorst said, describing how her dog was found. "You have to notice too, when Brian found him, there was no paw marks. There was no blood anywhere to be found in the snow, laying by Dodger, even around Dodger. Nothing."
Elmhorst says she was sure the dog's death was no accident, especially after what she found a few hours later.
"I was going into town and I noticed a yellow bag laying in a ditch," Elmhorst said.
She told her husband Brian about it, and he brought it back to the house.
"There was blood, fur and claw marks inside of the bag. We believe the fur belonged to Dodger. The fur was the same. It was the black fur," said Elmhorst
The Elmhorsts took out an ad in the newspaper offering a reward for information leading to whoever had done this. She says she received a phone call from a neighbor who said he did not want the reward, but told her the same thing had happened to him.
Another neighbor says her dogs vanished around the same time.
"We let 'em outside like we always do," said Christine Peterson, about her two dogs. "Went to go let them in like we usually do. They didn't come back in.
"Right around this same area," Peterson said, referring to the neighborhood in the Saratoga Township, south of Wisconsin Rapids, where she's lived for more than 10 years. "We heard that people have been missing their dogs."
Peterson says a recent story on the disappearance of an Australian Shepherd belonging to her neighbors, the Thompsons, prompted her to share her story. Although her own her cocker spaniel and black Labrador mix have been gone for about two years, she says that hearing how the Thompson's dog had returned injured, after being tied up with duct tape made her wonder if the dog-nappings were beginning again.
The Wood County Sheriff's department says they received eight reports of missing dogs the same time the Thompson's dog was away.
Sheriff Kurt Heuer says one of those dogs is still missing. Some are back with their owners and the rest were hit by passing vehicles. Oddly enough, all but the Australian Shepherd were chocolate-colored Labradors.
Heuer says there is no evidence linking those crimes, but if they find someone purposely let the dogs lose, that person or persons could face charges.