Lid to bin the dog was inOn Sunday, October 15, workers at the New Hampshire SPCA made a grisly discovery; the body of a 7-9 year black and white female Cocker Spaniel stuffed inside a dark blue Sterilite bin marked “Bar Stuff” with Christmas bows in the bottom. The lid is pictured to the left.

It was left at the side door of the SPCA, at a time when the shelter was open to the public.

The Portsmouth Avenue shelter is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

The box was there for less than an hour, according to Steven Sprowl, manager of the Field Services Division for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Workers coming in to feed the animals went through the door at 11:30 a.m. and the box wasn’t there, Sprowl said. At 12:30 p.m., workers found the box and opened it, thinking it was a donation of food or other item. The container was placed by the side door, where donations are usually left, Sprowl said.

“They opened the box to find out what kind of donation it was and found the dog,” he said. “It could have been in the container who knows how long. Whoever put the dog in the container could have driven an hour before they got here.”

Normally abandonment of an animal is a misdemeanor but since the dog was locked in an airtight contained causing her to suffocate to death makes this a felony.

Now the SPCA and police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the dog and her owners. Below are two pictures of the poor dog. Warning – they are rather graphic!

Miranda - dead dog found outside NHSPCA“The dog was alive when it was put in the container,” Sprowl said. “The dog suffocated inside of the container. There are signs the dog tried to claw its way out.”

Blood on the animal and container is evidence it struggled to get out, he said. Sprowl was asked if the blood could have been the result of a car accident, or other cause.

“There’s always that possibility, but the dog was frothing around the mouth,” he said. “That dog was fighting to get out of the box, fighting for every breath of air. There’s saliva all over the inside. You can see the hole inside where it was all wet and dripping with condensation from the heat of the dog. There was blood on the inside of the container, as well.”Miranda - dead dog found outside MHSPCA

The dog, who has since been named Miranda by Sprowl, was found without any identification only wearing a light purple collar with blue and yellow flowers.

“The name is significant in two ways. The first simply to give her the dignity of a name and the second is that if the owner is identified, he/she will be read their Miranda Rights under state law if they are arrested for this crime,” said Sprowl. “It’s definitely the worst case of abandonment I’ve ever seen, when someone seals an animal up in an airtight container.”

She appears to have had puppies at some time and had “cherry eye” in her right eye. The condition is caused by an inflamed gland in the dog’s third eyelid, which causes it to appear red and swollen.

Sprowl said leaving the dog was senseless because of the SPCA’s open-door policy.

“We would have just taken the dog,” he said. “They could have walked it in on a leash and said, ‘I don’t want this dog anymore,’ turned around and walked out.”

Because staff were unable to locate identification tags or a microchip, they are unable to identify the dog or the owner.

Whether the dog died prior to, during or after being transported is unknown at this time.

The agency and Stratham Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the dog and its owner.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NHSPCA investigator at 772-2921 Ext. 111 or the Stratham Police Department at 778-9691.

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