Dog found violently killed at Utica park

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Authorities in Macomb County are offering a reward after a dog was found viciously killed at a park in Utica. 

Det. Sgt. Greg Morabito with the Utica Police Department says a maintenance crew found the dog at Grant Park on Jan. 24 and called police. Police determined the dog had been abused at the park, where he died of his injuries. Police wouldn't say yet how the dog died. 

The dog was chipped and police were able to contact the owner, who told them the dog had gone missing the day before. Morabito wouldn't elaborate but are looking into whether the dog had been stolen. 

The owner, who police said is not a suspect at this time, adopted the 3-year-old dog from the Michigan Humane Society just under a month ago. 

Elise Ramsey with the Michigan Humane Society says they've watched Sterling, a brown pitbull mix, grow up from birth. He came to them in a litter and had been adopted and returned twice before finding his most recent owner in December. 

"It's definitely affected a lot of people in this agency to see this outcome," she said at a news conference Tuesday. She said he was a wonderful dog who never had any behavioral issues, and that he had been returned for circumstances out of his control. 

"It was torturous," she added of the dog's death. "It's definitely something no one should have to see and [something] that a dog should never have to go through."

Police have teamed up with MHS and Crime Stoppers in hopes of tracking down the suspect. 

Morabito says they have a suspect in mind but they need help and want to hear from anyone who may have heard or seen anything around the park that day. Grant Park is near Van Dyke Avenue and Hall Road. 

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest. That reward will double if the information is given before midnight on Jan. 29, 2019. 

The Michigan Humane Society is also offering $2,500 that will be rewarded after an arrest and conviction. 

If you have information that can help police, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. You will remain anonymous.