(WJLA) - These garbage bags hold inside what is surely a gruesome site: the carcasses of nearly 80 animals dumped in a creek in Loudoun County -- including one dog.
"Oh it's horrible. It's heart wrenching," says Kelly Loussedes, a dog owner and resident of Waterford, not far from the creek.
"It's very disheartening, especially in Waterford, because we're animal lovers out here."
Last week, a man driving on Featherbed Lane across the bridge at Catoctin Creek noticed what he thought were the bodies of dogs and cats in the water.
After further inspection, Loudoun County Animal Control officers determined that most of the 77 carcasses, all of them skinned, were raccoons and foxes. But one looked different - and the state lab ultimately determined that it was a dog.
"We will be investigating this as a felony animal cruelty case," says Chief Adrienne Burton with Animal Control. She is confident they will make progress on the case.
"My guys and our staff, we're good at what we do and we're just focused on investigating this and finding the person responsible for it."
Burton says cases of dumping wildlife carcasses is not uncommon in Western Loudoun County, where the hobbies of hunting and trapping still thrive. But it typically happens in fields or the woods, not the waterways.
Loussedes doesn't approve of dumping into the stream, and doesn't want it happening again.
"It's important to catch this person or persons, definitely," she says.