TOLEDO, Ohio – Investigators in Cleveland have found no evidence that three dogs were tied up on a railroad track or that two of them were killed by a train as they initially believed after earlier reports said a witness saw a man tying a dog to the track.
Authorities are now unsure whether it happened at all.
Investigators have not found the bodies of any dogs in the riverfront neighborhood overlooking downtown Cleveland, police district commander Keith Sulzer said.
Police said last week that an animal control officer told officers about the dogs after he spoke with a railroad worker who said he witnessed from a distance a dog being tied to the track. The worker also said someone appeared to take photographs or a video of it. The worker said two dogs had been killed earlier in the area.
The reports outraged animal welfare groups, and the story generated donations for a reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Sulzer said all police know for sure is that one dog narrowly missed being hit by a train nearly two weeks ago. But it's unclear if the dog had been tied to the track or if it's leash got caught.
Police Lt. Mark Ketterer told Cleveland's The Plain Dealer newspaper that the railroad worker told him last Friday that he did not see anyone with the dog but that a man was on the property taking pictures of a nearby bridge. Ketterer told the newspaper that he didn't think the railroad worker did anything wrong.
Cuyahoga County animal shelter manager Lesley DeSouza said Monday that she hopes the details of what happened are sorted out.
"With all of the publicity, I hope someone claims the dog or someone knows who did it — if it was done," she said.