Violet is no longer allowed to roam free. The dog’s owner is now keeping a closer watch on the pug, who was dressed in a pink and blue sweater yesterday.

Jess Cox
Ann Arbor resident Charles Smith and dog Scout take their daily walk yesterday. Smith, who owns two dogs, expressed concern for their safety in the face of a recent rash of dog killings in the area. “I usually let the dogs run around (in the back yard) at

After a recent string of macabre dog killings in Washtenaw County, Violet will have to do her business in constant view of her owner, recent graduate Julia Clogston.

Since January, 39 animals have been found dead in the same area of Superior Township, a 36-square mile area east of Ann Arbor. The victims include mostly foxes and coyotes – as well as six dogs that appear to be family pets.

On Sunday morning, a pit bull puppy and a cocker spaniel shot in the head were found dead in the same area. Early Saturday, another dog was found dead about five miles east of downtown Ann Arbor, its head and feet bound with twine.

Clogston, keeping an attentive eye on Violet, said the killings have shocked her.

“Who kills puppies?” she asked.

A rottweiler was also found decapitated recently, and on Friday two foxes and two dogs were found slain. Seven more carcasses were found Thursday, all in the same vicinity.

Because of the escalation of the killings, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department has assigned a detective to assist the Huron Valley Humane Society with the investigation, Commander Dave Egler said.

A full-time animal cruelty investigator from the humane society is also working on the case.

Kelly Schwartz, director of operations for the Humane Society, told The Associated Press there are no leads in the case but authorities are getting numerous tips. She also noted the killings were similar enough to be connected.

Meanwhile, students who own pets are fearful that their animals may be targeted next.

“I always watch (my dog) outside the window now because I heard someone was killing pets,” said Talia Anderson, a School of Social Work student.

Rackham student Louise Hecker said she will keep Tomba, her Italian greyhound, close by her side.

“I will be hesitant to let her off a leash, especially at night,” she said.

The high level of carnage associated with the crimes has led some residents to worry that the killers might target humans as well.

Animal cruelty has often been psychologically linked to violence against humans.

Serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson and David Berkowitz, also known as Son of Sam, all harmed animals before murdering people.

But Psychology Prof. Joseph Gone said the connection between animal cruelty and violence toward humans is smaller than people believe.

“It’s probably the exception rather than the rule,” he said. “Imagine how many teenage boys (harm animals) and never grow up to hurt anyone.”

The Huron Valley Humane Society is offering a reward in the thousands of dollars to anyone with information on the killings. The society’s animal cruelty tip line is 662-5585, extension 112.

Dog deaths

-Dozens of foxes, coyotes and dogs have been found killed

-A total of 39 animals have been killed, with at least 14 in the past week

-Anyone with information can contact the Huron Valley Humane Society’s animal cruelty tip line at 662-5585, extension 112

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