Animal cruelty cases don't get much more inexplicable than this one: Arapahoe County's Lopez family returned from an outing this past weekend to discover Conrad, their pet English bulldog, dead in a partially filled bathtub.
The case is so uncommon that Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson isn't even sure how to describe it.
"Right now, we're investigating it as a burglary, although there were no apparent signs of forced entry," he says. "So we're categorizing it first as a burglary, and additionally as animal cruelty."
No doubt about the latter -- but the burglary definition is complicated by the fact that, at least thus far, the family hasn't discovered anything missing. Instead, Robinson says, "items were disturbed or disrupted."
Perhaps those who broke in were "looking for something of value," he continues. But there's also the possibility that "the dog was specifically targeted. Obviously, it's a little unusual, because this is a fairly large dog. It would have been somewhat difficult to force it into the bathtub" and drown it -- the cause of death mentioned in numerous media reports. "That's another part of the puzzle we're trying to understand."
Given these questions, an Arapahoe County rep transported the dog's body to a veterinary facility at Colorado State University for a necropsy -- the equivalent of an autopsy. "We would like to know if drowning was the cause of death," Robinson points out, "or if the dog had been poisoned or given some substance that cause it to be unconscious before it was moved to the bathtub."
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Robinson anticipates results from the necropsy in a week or so. In the meantime, he says, "we're still investigating and trying to look at a variety of angles that can help us understand why this happened and who's responsible for it."
Look below to see Channel 31's coverage of the crime: