The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for cutting the paws off of a family’s young dog in the Jefferson area of Kanawha County, West Virginia.

The Case: Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office gives the following account: On June 2, 2015, Jessica Bennett found her dog, Malakai, bleeding and in pain after following a trail of blood outside her house in Jefferson, West Virginia. Bennett was horrified to discover someone severed Malakai’s front two legs above the knees and cut his face. Malakai, a two-year old mixed-breed male, lost a large amount of blood and was subsequently euthanized. Sergeant Humphreys of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office said no arrests have been made and deputies are still investigating the violent act.

Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.

“We take all cases of animal cruelty very seriously but I also can’t refrain from saying that this case seems a little more attention-getting than others,” Humphreys said. “It’s very violent and unusual and it’s not only captured a lot of people’s attention in the area, but people from outside our valley are contacting us about this case, trying to find a way to help.”

Heather Severt, the West Virginia state director of The Humane Society of the United States, said, “This act of violence is both heinous and greatly concerning, as the connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. It is heart-wrenching to think of the suffering which was intentionally caused to this loving family pet!”

Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office at 304-357-0169 or submit a tip at

Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty. The HSUS recently doubled its standard cruelty reward from $2,500 to $5,000 thanks to a generous donation from an HSUS board member. To see information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, visit our animal cruelty statistics page.

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