EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- He was like the town mascot.
People in one Clay County city are shocked, and still reeling over an act of animal cruelty. Excelsior Springs Police say a dog, known to people across the region, was beaten and left to die, while leashed in his own yard.
It happened while the dog's owner was at home. Lora Kingery says her dog, Snowball, was beaten to death on March 21st. Three weeks later, people are angry, and demanding justice for a popular dog that everyone knew.
The safety of his own yard wasn't enough. Kingery, who has lived in Excelsior Springs for 30 years, wants to know who beat Snowball. Police in Excelsior Springs tell FOX 4 News the dog's body showed signs of blunt force trauma, having been beaten while still leashed up.
"He had so much blood coming out of his mouth," Kingery said on Wednesday.
Snowball, known for his fluffy white fur, could usually be found on Kingery's porch, or perhaps at a neighbor's home. Kingery says she was in the shower at the time of the incident, and was unaware that anything had happened to her beloved pet. When she found his body, his fur was covered in blood. Snowball died three days later while staying in a veterinarian's care.
"I was mad. I was very mad," Kingery said.
"He was just always there. He'd been around for years. He was my buddy and we took time together all the time."
People all over Excelsior Springs knew Snowball. Many locals would wave and call out his name as they drove past Kingery's home. Some Clay Countians would bring him treats and toys.
"There's a lady from the gas company that would come by everyday and drop him off some treats. There's another gentleman from down the street who thought he needed a can of food everyday, so he sat on the porch and gave him a can," Kingery said.
The Excelsior Springs Police Department posted a photo of Snowball to Facebook on Wednesday, asking for the public's help in finding the dog's killer.
"We have small town values here," Lezlee Calandra said.
Calandra says she visited the dog on occasion. Her patients at Skylander Mental Health, a local psychological facility, created and delivered a memorial in the shape of a doghouse, an expression of their grief. Neighbors have covered the cardboard memorial with signatures, Bible verses and messages of support for Kingery.
"I wouldn't want to know a person like that. It's so cruel and inhumane for an animal. What kind of person is that?" Calandra said.
"I just hope they pay for what they did," Kingery concluded.
Excelsior Springs Police Department is investigating a claim that video of the beating exists. ESPD Officer Larry Tennant says an anonymous benefactor is offering a cash reward for anyone that delivers that video to police.
If you can help track down Snowball's killer, please call Excelsior Springs Police at (816) 630-2000.