Family pet skinned alive; Police search for person of interest - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Family pet skinned alive; Police search for person of interest

John Michael Smith (Source: Etowah County Jail) John Michael Smith (Source: Etowah County Jail)
Skip before the attack (Source: Pruiett family) Skip before the attack (Source: Pruiett family)
GADSDEN, AL (WAFF) -

Gadsden Police are searching for a person of interest in an animal cruelty case after the remains of a family pet were found in an alley.

According to police, Skip, a 9-year-old dachshund, was taken off his chain sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning. They said Skip was skinned alive in the alley behind 66 West Tuscaloosa Avenue.

Jerry Pruiett had owned Skip since he was a puppy.  The attack left him full of questions. 

"Why would you do that to an animal that never bothered you, or nobody?" Pruiett said. 

Police want to question 33-year-old John Michael Smith, a person of interest in this case.

Gadsden officer Sgt. Mike Hooks said that Smith and his neighbor had gotten into an argument not long before the attack. 

"He is a person of interest because he was having a problem with people," said Hooks.  "He was seen sharpening a knife on the porch and waived it at the man who lived there."

News of the attack spread quickly and has neighbors on edge for their safety and their pets. 

"I just hope and pray that they catch him," said one neighbor how wanted to keep her identity hidden.  "I just want justice because this shouldn't happen.  If he's crazy enough to kill a dog he would be crazy enough to kill a person," she said. 

Anyone with information on Smith's whereabouts is urged to call the Criminal Investigation Division at 256 549-4630.  

The animal's remains were taken to the Gadsden Animal Control Office as evidence.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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