Adopted pit bull mix found dead from 'one of worst cases' of abuse in Utica, officials say

3-year-old pit bull mix found dead in Grant Park

UTICA, Mich. – Utica police and the Michigan Humane Society are pleading for clues after an adopted dog was found dead.

The 3-year-old pit bull mix, named Sterling, was discovered Thursday morning in Grant Park with signs of severe abuse, officials said.

UPDATE: An arrest has been made

Animal cruelty investigators said it's one of the worst cases they've ever seen.

"It was tortuous," MHS cruelty investigator Elise Ramsey said. "You see a lot of things. This was one of those that sticks with you."

What happened to Sterling was so gruesome, officials are keeping most of the details secret.

Authorities said Sterling was adopted Dec. 29, and on Jan. 23, his owner left him secure in their Macomb County house.

"When the owner left the dog, the dog was inside the house," Utica police Sgt. Greg Morabito said.

When the owner returned, the dog was gone. Sterling was found about 24 hours later with fatal wounds, officials said. A trail of blood led officials to where he was found.

"This is a crime," said Anthony Jones, of Crime Stoppers. "There is someone out there who is probably bragging about this crime, and we just want them to come forward or someone receiving info, please let us know who and where this individual is."

A $1,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest. The reward will be increased by $1,000 if the tip comes before midnight Tuesday.

An additional $2,500 is offered through the Michigan Humane Society if there's a conviction.


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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.