DINUBA, Calif. -- The mystery begins on a stretch of county road in Dinuba in Central California, where Michelle Pattillo made a gruesome discovery.
"Unfortunately, I knew exactly what I was going to find. I just didn't know if it was going to be too late or not," Pattillo said.
The discovery did come too late.
"I have found, unfortunately, two puppies approximately eight weeks old on the side of the road tied up in gigantic dog food bags," Pattillo said.
Pattillo took a photo of the first bag she discovered on June 19. ABC7's sister station KFSN has decided to blur the image inside the bag due to its graphic nature.
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Soon after making her initial discovery, Pattillo took the deceased dog back to a family friend's home with a larger lot to give the animal a proper burial.
"There's so many services in this area, low-cost, that that is so unavoidable," she said.
The following Tuesday, Pattillo discovered a second bag, again with the same animal remains inside.
And just this past week, a third bag was discovered. This one left was torn and emptied.
"It makes me really angry but then sad for the puppy because my feeling is that puppy was alive when they put it in that bag, or else why would they have tied it?" Patillo said.
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Tulare County Animal Services says discoveries including deceased animals are not entirely uncommon on county roadways.
"We tend to not jump directly to conclusions of cruelty or things like that because oftentimes what we find is once we find the owners of these animals, if we are able to, is simply a case of the puppy passed away from parvo," said Cassie Heffington with Tulare County Animal Services (TCAS).
The TCAS explained Canine Parvovirus or parvo, as it's more commonly known, is a highly contagious virus among puppies. If severe symptoms are left untreated, parvo can cause death in dogs.
The TCAS said owners may not know how to properly dispose of their pets, especially if it died due to parvo.
"The owner didn't know how to dispose of it. They live in an apartment; they can't bury the animal and people then tend to take the animal out to the country and just put it on the side of the road," Heffington said.
Pattillo says this is not acceptable. Tulare County Animal Services said it is difficult to both track down pet owners and animal abusers unless there is nearby security surveillance or an identifying license plate number.