MERRIAM, Kan. -- It's a pet owner's worst nightmare. A couple from Merriam is devastated after their dog turned up dead while in the care of a pet sitter. But they say worse than that, "Max" was found beheaded. Now they want answers.
Max's owner, Patricia Howard, remembers the dog who she calls a member of her family.
"Perfect family pet, loved by everyone who knew him and loving to everyone who knew him," she said. "He was so thankful that someone, from the day we rescued him, so thankful that someone would take an interest and take care of him."
Howard says as her and her husband prepared for a trip overseas, they asked a family friend to pet sit. Howard says the pet sitter asked if she could leave Max with a friend of hers. When Howard called to check on Max, she was told he was missing. After posting ads on Craigslist and other websites, Howard says a truck driver found Max's head just a couple of miles from the pet sitter's house.
"How could Max's body be found perfectly beheaded?," Howard wonders. "I mean, it's like someone took a knife and perfectly cut his head off."
Max's body was found a short time later. Police launched an investigation but believe Max's death was accidental and the case will not be sent on for prosecution. Still, Howard wants to know what happened.
"At this point we have more questions than answers," she said.
We called the pet sitter and he asked us to speak to his attorney. But without a criminal case, other lawyers say a civil case will be difficult at best.
"Essentially, Missouri law says dogs are personal property," said Bridget Guth-Williams. "The value of damages for Patricia Howard would be the market value of Max. How do you determine that? It would be basically his replacement."
So far the pet sitter's attorney has not called FOX 4 back.