Man sought for questioning in Gadsden dog-skinning

Man sought for questioning in Gadsden dog-skinning

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This is a photo of Skip, the dog found skinned alive in Gadsden. Source: Pruitt family This is a photo of Skip, the dog found skinned alive in Gadsden. Source: Pruitt family
John Michael Smith. Source: Etowah County Sheriff's Office John Michael Smith. Source: Etowah County Sheriff's Office
GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) -

Gadsden police are looking for a person of interest wanted for questioning in an animal cruelty case.

Police say a 9-year-old miniature dachshund named Skip was taken away from his chain and skinned alive in an alley this weekend. It happened behind 66 West Tuscaloosa Avenue sometime between Saturday, Dec. 8 and the morning of Sunday, Dec. 9, Gadsden police say.

"Why, why would you do this, to a poor, defenseless dog, or cat, bird or anything, you know?  I wouldn't care what it was, why would you do that to an animal, that never bothered you or nobody?" Skip's owner Jerry Pruitt said.

Pruitt says that Skip's collar was cut. He says be bought Skip as a present for his daughter when Skip was six weeks old.

"It tore our hearts out. [Skip was the] sweetest little dog, was part of the family," Pruitt said.

Gadsden Animal Control officers collected the dog's remains as evidence.

Authorities are searching for John Michael Smith, a 33-year-old white male, as a person of interest.

Gadsden officer Sgt. Mike Hooks told our sister station WAFF 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 waved it at the man who lived there."

Anyone with information about Smith's location is asked to call police at 256-549-4630.

Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved. WAFF contributed to this report.

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