New details in the case of Jetta, the black Labrador Retriever thought to have been bound with wire and dragged to her death in Rogers County, Okla., last week, reveal that the new mother of nine puppies may have died before she was dragged.
A man who is said to be connected to the case turned himself in to the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office Monday afternoon. The man explained he found an injured Jetta on his property August 29, and her injuries suggested she had been hit by a car. He explained he shot Jetta to put her out of her misery, and then dragged her body to a nearby road because it was starting to smell. When asked about the baling wire found wrapped around Jetta’s hind legs, the man explained he used it so he wouldn’t have to touch the dead dog.
Investigators examining Jetta’s remained discovered that the Lab was shot, though it could not be determined whether the wound was sustained before or after she was dragged for over a mile behind a vehicle.
Witnesses have come forward to confirm the man’s story, Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton said, leading his office to believe that Jetta was not necessarily the victim of animal cruelty as it was first believed.
“It’s a very tough decision-making process right now to see what charges could or would apply because of the cosmetics of the whole thing,” Walton told Tulsa World in a statement Tuesday.
Walton explained this was not a case of jumping to conclusions, but a situation where all initial signs suggested Jetta had indeed been dragged to her death.
“People still have this ingrained in their mind that this dog was drug to death,” the Sheriff said. “Our first indications when we were out there were that.”
Annette Tucker, director of the Wild Heart Ranch wildlife rescue, told News On 6 that the reward fund established to find Jetta’s killer had swelled to $25,000. Refunds will now be offered to contributing donors, Tucker explained.
“People specifically donated for the reward fund,” Tucker said, “and Sheriff Walton has publicly announced there will be no reward in this case.”
Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer, who gave $5,000 to the reward fund, announced that, in lieu of the new developments in the case, he would like the money to go toward caring for the animals in need at the Wild Heart Ranch.
As the details behind Jetta’s death slowly emerge, Sheriff Walton has his own opinions about the actions of the man who says he found and shot a gravely wounded Jetta before dragging the dog’s body behind his vehicle and leaving her on the roadside.
“I’ll tell you what. That’s not what I would have done,” Walton said. “It’s not what most would do — tie a dog’s legs together with baling wire, then drag it a mile and a half so its body is unrecognizable as a dog and then leave it in the middle of the road and go on.”
“Would a grown man do that?” Walton added. “No.”