Authorities in Spokane Valley are trying to figure out who tried to kill a pair of family pets with raw meat laced with broken glass.
Last Thursday, someone dropped the deadly meatballs into a pair of yards at East Buckeye Avenue and North Vista Road across the street from West Valley High School.
The good news is that this does not appear to be some random act of animal cruelty. There are two large, vociferous dogs living side by side and everybody in the neighborhood has heard about the problem.
Indiana's baritone bark echoes down the block when the mastiff thinks someone is getting too close to his backyard.
"He is here to protect us. He is part of our family and we love him and our kids love him," Indiana's owner said.
The dog's owner is too frightened to identify herself because last Thursday someone tried to silence her dog with a very inhumane approach to the problem.
"Their complainant, from their garage, saw a man drop something in the corner of his backyard from a nearby alley," Nancy Hill with SCRAPS said.
The witness found ground beef stuffed with shards of broken glass. Fortunately, pet owners got to the meatballs before Indiana and the other dog, a German Shepherd, could.
SCRAPS officials said neither dog has been the target of noise complaints, and so someone's decided to take the law into their own hands.
"Well it certainly appears to be a targeted crime, so that's why we put out the press release asking the public for information," Hill said. "It's likely someone knows about someone's frustration about the dogs' barking or some other behavior which caused this incident to occur."
SCRAPS officials say they follow up every barking complaint with a letter and, if necessary, a visit from an animal control officer. Pet owners can face a $79 fine for repeat offenses.
Animal control officers hope someone will be able to identify the suspect, identified as a bald, 250-pound white male in his mid-50s.
In the meantime, the pet owners have gotten the message that someone is so fed up with the barking, that they're willing to let the dogs suffer a slow and painful death just to make it stop.