Cullman, Ala. (AP) - A new report is casting doubts on claims that a beagle was intentionally skinned alive last month in Cullman county.
Owners of a beagle named Anne believed that the animal was intentionally skinned after they found her missing much of her skin.
A veterinarian who euthanized the dog called it the worst case of animal cruelty he had ever seen.
However, Cullman County Sheriff Tyler Roden says an examination by a state pathologist indicates the skinning might have been an accident.
That's because it appeared to have been performed by a machine, not someone with a knife.
The findings raise the possibility of a mishap involving farm equipment or other machinery.
Roden says his office was treating the skinning like a crime, but now, he says it appears there's a slim chance that the beagle was injuried in an accident.
About $35,000 in reward money is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
Roden says the case remains open, but the investigation is being scaled back.