A pet owner made a gruesome discovery in his backyard earlier this week. Everything seemed normal until Buck Pratt opened his backdoor.
The snow is making it hard to forget. Still holding the drops of blood, the footprints, the signs of the struggle.
“It just made me sick to my stomach," said Buck Pratt, of E. 36th Street in Des Moines, "it was a horrible thing to come home from work to.”
Pratt had called out the back door for his dogs. It took two steps into the yard to find out why they wouldn’t come.
“I didn’t have no clue what had done it, what had happened,” he said, shaking his head.
Roxy, weighing 20 pounds, lay near the swing set, two-year-old Jack, a few feet away.
“I said ‘wait a second, whatever killed them might still be in my yard’ and that’s when I searched my yard and found the back fence and saw where the dogs got in.”
The attacking dogs had bent the chain link, dug into the dirt.
“Any dog that would go through that much work to get in here to kill two dogs isn’t right in the head,” Pratt said.
Animal control found two dogs running loose nearby, one with blood all over its mouth.
Police say they’re owned by Steve and Carrie Pundzak of Des Moines, who admitted the dogs had had problems before - killing other animals and running loose. But this case was even worse.
“Normally once animals are deemed dangerous," said Sgt. Jim Butler of the Animal Control Unit of the Des Moines Police Department, "there’s a euthanasia order shortly behind that.”
The suspects have been impounded, but thanks to the snow, their crimes are still right there for the Pratts and their daughters to see.
“(They've) been crying," Buck said. "It’s hard to explain to a two-year-old and a five-year-old ‘your dogs ain’t gonna come back, you ain’t never gonna get to see them again. Two mean dogs took ‘em.'”
Police say the blood on the attacking dogs matched that of the Pratt's dogs.
Under chapter 18 of the Des Moines municipal code, any animal that kills a domestic animal while off of its own property can be ruled dangerous. Dangerous animals are typically euthanized.
Police say the owners of the attacking dogs have been very cooperative with the investigation, but they'll likely be hit with charges of negligence and destruction of property.