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2 small dogs found dead in the James River, RACC investigating

James River flooding
James River flooding(NBC12)
Updated: Apr. 12, 2021 at 6:21 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Two small dogs were found dead in the James River Sunday, and now Richmond Animal Care and Control is trying to find who the dogs belonged to and how they ended up in the water.

”[Sunday] morning, we received several calls for dead dogs off the Potterfield Bridge,” said Christie Chipps Peters with RACC. “One officer responded, then two others responded as well, so we could get the dogs out of the water. One officer changed and swam out to get the dog that was further out to bring the remains back.”

Chipps Peters says there was a female beagle mix found floating in the water and a red terrier was found nearby in a black plastic bag. RACC is hoping they will be able to piece the situation together by performing a necropsy on the beagle.

“She has a microchip, so we are working on defining that information right now, and her body was intact enough, so we are sending it for a necropsy to define if she died prior to getting in the water or if she drowned,” she explained.

Several people called RACC for help after seeing the dogs in the water while they were by the James River. While RACC usually shares photos on Facebook to help in investigations, Chipps Peters says in this case the photos are too gruesome to post.

”We were going across the bridge, walking our dogs, and we saw a ton of vultures hanging out on the river bank. There had to have been 30 or 40 of them,” said Crystal Beswick.

Beswick says she was not able to keep walking when she saw the group of vultures, she eventually spotted the dogs and wanted to help. She is among the many people who called RACC.

”I just wanted to jump down there and pull them out of the water and shoo the birds away,” said Beswick. “I can only imagine, how did two dogs get in the river, they don’t just drown by themselves, especially together, it makes me wonder who put them there, and were they alive before they hit the water or were they dead? Just questions I would like to know.”

Chipps Peters says they are looking into the possibility of animal cruelty, reminding the community there are options, such as calling RACC for pickup if an animal dies.

“[Reach out] if you know of any dog that looks like that [female beagle and red terrier] and now isn’t where it was before, or you saw anything happen in the area in the morning. I don’t know if they had already died and were just dumped. I don’t know what the situation is,” she explained. “Dumping them in the water is really never an option and shouldn’t be and is very strange. That is why we are hopeful we can recover some sort of information, if anyone saw anything to please help us piece that puzzle back together.”

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