UPPER TULPEHOCKEN TWP., Pa. - A Berks County family is offering a cash reward hoping to solve a disturbing case of animal cruelty.
Dave Hoke and his wife are pleading for help after one of their dogs was shot and the other went missing in Upper Tulpehocken Township.
"How do you explain to an 8-year-old little girl that your dog is not going to come home," said Hoke, who is desperate for information.
The family is now offering a $300 reward to anyone who knows who shot its dog, Slash. The dog underwent surgery and had to get 16 stitches after the bullet went in one end and out the other.
"He was able to recover a lot quicker than I feared," said Hoke.
Now, Hoke fears he may never see his other dog, Kingston, ever again. The Labrador/Rottweiler mix went missing in the woods two weeks ago. That is the same day Slash was shot near the family's property.
Dave's neighbor, Todd Heffner, has been helping with the search, but like many he is starting to fear the worst case scenario.
"I don't think he is coming back because I think he was shot and buried, shot and taken somewhere else or he's so far deep in the woods that you just won't find him," said Heffner.
Hoke admitted his dogs had a history of getting out of his backyard and running into the woods. He built the fence in the back of his property higher and covered the holes at the bottom with stones, but the dogs still managed to escape.
The family said it received verbal threats from hunters and even a threatening letter in the mail because the dogs were known to chase deer.
"I really feel like part of it is our fault, but I still don't see how someone can turn a gun on a dog like that and shoot," said Hoke.
Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Game Commission are investigating, and Hoke hopes the reward will help spark tips.
Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 610-562-6885 or Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.
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