It’s heartbreaking enough for a Troy family to wrap their heads around the idea that Layla, their 6-year-old boxer, may have been hit by a train Saturday.
But Sterling Heights police are investigating a more sinister possibility: that the dog was decapitated and then placed near the railroad tracks near Sterling Drive South and Mound Drive, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The family had been searching for Layla after she slipped out of their home in Troy sometime between 6 p.m. and midnight Friday.They looked for her when they returned home, then resumed their search on Saturday.
Layla was nowhere to be found.
Then, about 10 p.m. Saturday night, the phone rang, Police Lt. Kevin Reese told the newspaper. The family didn’t recognize the number, but the caller relayed the news that he and another man were searching for their own missing dog when they found Layla’s body, her identifying tags still intact.
She had been decapitated, he said.
Reese said a detective has been assigned to the case. A necropsy – the equivalent of an autopsy performed on animals – and toxicology tests will be performed on Layla’s body at Michigan State University.
“Right now, we’re trying to determine if the dog had passed prior to being placed on the railroad tracks or if it collapsed or if a train hit the dog,” Reece said.
If police determine the dog was deliberately killed, the person responsible could be charged with torturing an animal, a four-year felony or mutilation of a deceased animal, a 30-day misdemeanor.
“This is terrible,” Reese told the newspaper. “So, hopefully no one did it, but if someone did it wilfully, we will attempt to find them.”