KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Danielle Carter says she wasn't concerned when her chihuahua, Chica, ran after a cat this afternoon. She assumed Chica would come back.
Chica came back, but she wasn't alive, and it wasn't an accident. The family says that someone slit the dog's throat, among other gruesome injuries, and left the dog's body in the street.
Carter, her son, twin girls, and mother were thrilled to move into their new Northland home near Brighton and Vivion Road about a month ago.
"This is home. I automatically thought this was home," said Carter.
Their playful four-year-old chihuahua, Chica, moved in with them.
"I loved her," Carter tearfully said. "As soon as she'd come up to you, she'd, you know, cower down and lick your hand."
Chica was her son's best buddy.
"I get to play with her a lot," Armani Carter said.
But on Thursday afternoon, Chica accidentally got out of the house when Danielle briefly opened the door.
"Took off running. She never takes off running. She's seen a cat, and took off running to the cat," said Danielle explained. She figured she'd come back, but after about an hour Danielle says that she got worried.
"I looked out there and it was her laying in the street," she said.
Danielle was devastated, thinking Chica was run over. But as she got closer, she knew what happened was even worse.
"They slit her throat, hit her in the head with a hammer, broke her back leg, drained all her blood out of her, and skinned her," Danielle said.
Animal Control took the dog, and Danielle said they called her later to say it was one of the worst beatings they'd ever seen. She says that she then called police.
"It was a hate crime. That's what they're thinking it is," Danielle claimed.
Back at their new home, the family has a deep hole in the backyard - for Chica. They say it's a reminder of the day they all lost their best friend.
A spokesperson for Kansas City Animal Control couldn't confirm Chica's exact injuries, but they do say that many of Chica's injuries were intentional and a criminal investigation may begin. Animal Control warns anyone living in the area near Brighton and Vivion Road to keep their pets on a leash or indoors if possible.
A reward for $1,500 is available for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the individual(s) responsible for this.