A pit bull found dead in a suitcase in a St. Petersburg canal was placed there by her owners as a burial after the pet was struck by a car, officials said Thursday.
The distraught couple told police they were not allowed to bury the dog at their apartment complex and could not afford the fee required by the SPCA to take the dog.
The blue, hard-shell suitcase was found Wednesday floating near a dock, police said. Inside the suitcase was the female pit bull, black and gray and weighing 30 to 35 pounds.
The dog, named Beloved, had trauma to its head and lower body, and police began to investigate, concerned the animal had been fatally beaten.
However, the dog’s owners said Beloved got loose while being walked and ran across Fourth Street, where the pet was struck by a car, police said.
Samuel Orsini, the owner who was walking the dog, carried her back to his apartment, which he shares with Gina Glass, police said.
Police said Orsini and Glass, who are mentally disabled, were distraught after the dog’s death.
Orsini and Glass said they contacted the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals but were told it would cost $55 for the organization to take the dog, police said.
The couple told police they also attempted to bury Beloved at their apartment complex, but the landlord refused.
Instead, Orsini and Glass decided to submerge the dog in a “lake,” saying it was the dog’s favorite spot, police said.
Glass put the dog in the suitcase, which she found in a dumpster, and partially filled it with water in the hope it would submerge Beloved.
Police said they are still investigating and waiting for the results of necropsy.