HAMILTON – It’s a heartbreaking case of animal cruelty out of Ravalli County.
Someone stole two pet beagles, kept them alive until one had puppies, then killed them — and investigators want to know who did it. Charlie and Stacy Heiland’s dogs Trigger and Copper disappeared from their property in late January.
Copper is a miniature Beagle who was pregnant at the time. An extensive search turned up nothing until late week when someone found the bodies of the two grown dogs near Lake Como Road.
Copper had had her puppies and they’d been allowed to nurse. But it appears whoever did this then took the puppies and killed the adult dogs. Charlie Heiland says everyone had been searching for Trigger and Copper since late January so whoever had his pets kept them hidden.
"it’s crazy to think they’ve been kept inside this whole time for months and then to kill them," Charlie said. "Her puppies had been nursing on her so they waited until she did. They were eight weeks and old enough to eat dog food and then killed her."
The Heilands are checking Craigslist and other sites to see if the missing puppies are for sale. Charlie believes Copper had between four and five of them. Miniature Beagle puppies can sell for well over $2,000 a piece. The puppies should be seven or eight weeks old right now.
The Ravalli County Sheriff’s Offices reports it has some evidence in the case but no suspects yet.
Anyone with information about the incident — or see the puppies for sale somewhere — is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (406) 363-3033.
Anonymous tips can be made through the Ravalli County Sheriff’s App. or by calling Crimestoppers at (406) 721-4444.