POLK COUNTY, Wis. - A family is outraged and heartbroken after the disturbing killing and mutilation of their beloved dog, Sally -- and now they, along with Polk County authorities, are searching for those responsible for the heinous crime.

In a letter, Matt Murphy wrote about the incident that happened in late November stating his 9-year-old dog, Sally, went out to go to the bathroom late Saturday night on Nov. 24 and never came home. Murphy states he went to look for her and eventually found her on the side of the road. The dog had been shot in the hind quarters and had large portions of her body that was skinned and mutilated.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office states in a release the incident likely happened between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. in the area of the 1800 block of 120th Street in Balsam Lake, Wis.

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Sally was found shot, mutilated and skinned -- now his family and the Polk County Sheriff's Office wants to know who is responsible.
Matt Murphy

Sally had a collar that allowed her to get in and out of her doggie door at home but it was smashed and thrown in the ditch on the opposite side of where she was found.

"I can only assume that the coward or cowards that shot Sally realized she was wearing an electronic collar that might contain a GPS tracking system and were afraid they would be caught," Murphy wrote.

Sally died from her injuries. She was already sick, suffering from cancer, but the family was doing everything they could to make her comfortable and enjoy whatever time they had left with her.

"They were expecting her to have an end pretty soon. But to find her on the road in that condition, it was devastating," said Murphy's mother, Maxine Florer

The Polk County Sheriff's Office has started an investigation into the dog's death and are hoping someone may have information that could help them.

"Whether it’s your family member or your dog killed, that’s a traumatic event to a family," said Chief Deputy Chad Roberts, of the Polk County Sheriff's Office. "That’s a traumatic event to a community. So you have to take it seriously, because that affects how people feel safe in their homes."

Murphy, who describes his family's dog as non-threatening and extremely sweet and loving, said they are completely devastated by Sally's death -- especially his 7-year-old son, Russell, who not only lost his best friend but is struggling with fear.

"That dog was everything," Florer said. "My grandson grew up with Sally. She was a watchdog."

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Sally was found shot, mutilated and skinned -- now his family and the Polk County Sheriff's Office wants to know who is responsible.
Matt Murphy

"The loss to a 7-year-old boy to lose a pet like that ... And he says grandma, 'I just can’t stop thinking about it.' I just say, 'You know, grandma believes family pets who are loved and take care of their masters, they go to a special place. I said, 'Sally’s OK.'"

Murphy wrote that he and his family moved to the community nine years ago and never once had a bad interaction with a neighbor.

"We have always felt safe here and have been working over these past nine years to build a lifelong home for our family," he states. "That sense of safety, and that love for this place, has been shattered."

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 715-485-8300.