Mike Rohrer didn’t know what he would find as he walked toward three white garbage bags left on some Bureau of Land Management land outside of Fruitland.
“I was thinking, ‘Gee, people can’t even pick up after themselves,’ ” he remembered.
When he got closer, Rohrer (pronounced roar-er) was stunned.
“I saw legs, then I saw what I knew was dog,” he says.
Rohrer found three dead husky puppies, about 3 or 4 months old, each stuffed into a white kitchen garbage bag. Two of the bags also contained towels and what looked like some clothing.
“I was shocked. I was sad. I was angry,” Rohrer says. “There were a lot of emotions. I couldn’t believe that anyone could do this. Even if they died of natural causes, they should not have been thrown out like this.”
Rohrer had gone to the area on Oct. 18 to do a little shooting. When he got home he posted his grisly discovery on his friends-only Facebook page. After someone suggested he report it, Rohrer called the Payette County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office now has an ongoing investigation, says spokesman Lt. Andy Creech.
“We’ve got a lot good leads from citizens,” Creech says. “We mainly want to talk to the person and find out how the dogs died, why they left them out there and see if there was a crime committed.”
As it stands now, the charge would be littering on public land. Though the dogs did not appear to have trauma, Creech says, how they died will factor into the case.
“If it turns out this is an animal cruelty case, then that’s a crime, we’ll deal with that,” Creech says.
In Idaho, animal cruelty can carry up to a $5,000 fine.
Either way, this is not the way to dispose of a dead animal, Creech says.
“Most people bury their animals on their property,” he says. “You can take them to a pet cemetery and you can have them cremated or taken to a sanitary landfill.”
For Rohrer, finding the dogs has made him think about how he can help. He decided to go public to raise awareness about proper treatment for pets and other animals.
“I’m not a spiritual guy, but I feel like I was meant to go out there and find them and speak for these three souls,” Rohrer says. “I think things like this could have been handled better. Maybe there should be stricter laws. I mean, this a life. It’s a responsibility. If you can’t accept that you shouldn’t have a pet.”
If you have information about the incident, contact the Payette County Sheriff’s Office at 208-642-6006 or the Crime Stoppers hotline at 208-414-2677.