SANTA PAULA (CBSLA.com) — The Humane Society offered a $5,000 reward on Thursday for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for leaving two dead dogs on the side of the road.

According to Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) officers, an anonymous caller reported driving by two emaciated dogs on Jan. 5, that were laying side by side inside a discarded dog igloo on the south side of South Mountain Road.

When an animal control officer arrived on scene, they located two adult Pit Bull Terrier dogs that were deceased. According to the officer, both dogs had their ribs and hip bones protruding from underneath their skin.

“Our hearts break for those poor dogs that suffered tremendously, and then were thrown by the side of the road like pieces of trash,” said VCAS Director Tara Diller.

One of the dogs was found wearing a collar, but no information could be gathered regarding it’s owner.

Officials went on to explain that the good Samaritan who reported the incident believes the dogs were intentionally placed on the road in the afternoon.

Animal control officers, the dogs and dog igloo were transported to VCAS’ Camarillo Animal Adoption Center, where Heather Skogerson collected evidence and took photographs.

According to Skogerson, the dogs died due to starvation over a prolonged period of time. Neither dog had any fat stores in their bodies, and their muscles wasted away due to lack of physical activity.

Skogerson went on to report that she found foreign material inside one dog’s gastrointestinal tract, which reveals it may have been trying to eat anything in order to survive.

Authorities explained the temperature had dropped to below 36 degrees the night before the dogs were discovered. Skogerson believes hypothermia may have also played a factor in their death.

“No animal should ever be subjected to such inhumane treatment and conditions,” added Diller.

Under California law, anyone convicted of maliciously and intentionally maiming or killing an animal can be imprisoned for up to three years in county jail. They may also be fined $20,000 for felony animal cruelty, but that is up to the discretion of the District Attorney.

VCAS explained they hope this reward will encourage anyone with information regarding this crime to come forward.

All information should be directed to VCAS Animal Control Officer Bryan Bray at (805) 383-4717 or bryan.bray@ventura.org.

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