MYSTERY surrounds the death of a dog found skinned in its owner’s Hastings backyard on Sunday .
The owner found the 17-year-old Labrador dead in her back yard about 7pm — still wearing its winter dog coat and with its right ear missing.
Detective Leading Senior Constable Nick Sweetman, of the Hastings crime investigation unit, said when the owner removed the coat ‘‘she found the dog had been skinned from the back of the neck to about half way down its back’’.
The owner said the dog had been alive and well just 90 minutes earlier.
Detective Leading Senior Constable said police were not automatically assuming that the dog had been killed and mutiliated by a human.
‘‘We’re investigating to establish whether foul play was involved,’’ he said.
Another possibility was that two other dogs in the backyard, belonging to the same owner, had been involved.
‘‘We’re looking at whether they were involved with the injuries or whether they may have eaten the other dog after it had died, as some animals do.’’
Detective Leading Senior Constable Sweetman said it was too early to make any assumptions as a vet’s opinion had been inconclusive and a full autopsy of the dog was pending.
Information to Crime Stoppers, 1800333000 or visit their website here.