PREVIOUS: Animal control officers investigating; reward climbs - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

PREVIOUS: Animal control officers investigating; reward climbs

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Animal control officers are investigating leads into a case of severe animal cruelty in Waterloo where a reward fund has been upped to $4,000 for information leading to an arrest.

Someone found a male dog dead, locked in a kennel along a gravel road in the 2700 block of Independence Avenue Saturday. Since KWWL first reported that information Saturday night, there's been a huge public outcry.

The dog starved to death, and in its own feces.  Now, animal control and a local rescue group hope the story of the Lab/great Dane mix some have named "Caleb" will encourage someone to come forward with information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for his death.

Diann Helmers has seen some awful cases of animal abuse in the more than 30 years she's worked for animal rescue organizations.

"This guy had a whole harness up in his armpit and all twisted," Helmers said of a former dog in her shelter, Agape Fosters in rural Reinbeck. "We thought his leg was going to have to be cut off because it was full of maggots."

But this weekend, learning of the black dog she calls "Caleb" was still heartbreaking.

"This is like the worst thing you could do," Helmers said. "It's bad enough to dump your animal and abandon it, but to leave it in a kennel, where it had no chance to survive and leave it without food and water and living in its feces and urine until it expired...I mean, it's just horrible.  I find it very evil."

The dog probably died some time ago, but was dumped along a Waterloo gravel road between Friday night and Saturday morning.

Helmers says cases like this are frustrating because there are so many resources to help people who can't take care of their animals.

"These pictures have haunted me because it could've been so different," she said. "We have rescues. We have a shelter. We have all kinds of places this dog could've been taken. It didn't have to be this way. All they had to do was open up the door."

While the images are hard to look at, Helmers believes the more they're shown, the better chance someone will pick up a cue identifying the dog's owner.

"We need them to come forward because we cannot have this person having pets," Helmers said. "Maybe there's children. How are they taking care of other animals if they have any? We need to know this person's name so nobody passes on another animal to them, and they need to be prosecuted for what they've done. It's horrific."

Agape Fosters was so disgusted by this animal cruelty case, it initially put up a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. After hundreds of Facebook posts and web shares, animal lovers have now pledged even more cash, bringing the reward fund to more than $4,000. 

The dog was found in a beige carrier labeled "Grate Choice," with a green plastic double bowl and white kitchen towel with pink squares inside.

Waterloo Animal Control officer Maria Tiller has spoken with people who live near the site the dog was dumped, and several leads on the owner have been generated and are being investigated.

If you have information that could help locate and potentially prosecute the dog's owner, call Agape Fosters at (319) 239-2268 or Waterloo Animal Control Services at (319) 291-4440.

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