Report: Skinning of Beagle Could Have Been Accidental

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.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press.   All rights reserved.)