POST FALLS - The injured dog rescued by firefighters and police two weeks ago from a ditch at a Post Falls park had to be euthanized during the weekend, police said.
Post Falls Police Capt. Greg McLean said a detective has been focusing solely on the case and abuse charges against the latest owner of the male Labrador mix are possible.
"We're still trying to locate who could have dumped the dog," McLean said. "We're getting bits and pieces (of information) from kids all over the area and there's a lot of finger-pointing."
The dog, given the nickname "Bridger" by Post Falls police, was rescued by Kootenai County Fire and Rescue and Post Falls police after being spotted as motionless and dehydrated by a pair of teenage hikers in a 6-foot-deep part of Corbin Ditch on July 21. He was taken to River City Animal Hospital.
McLean said personnel with a pet rescue nonprofit made the decision to have the dog euthanized.
"The decision was made based on the pre-existing conditions of the dog, its age and not doing better," he said. "It had become very lethargic."
McLean said it's unclear just how old the dog was. He had multiple medical issues, including a degenerative hip problem. McLean said it appears that injuries due to age, not abuse, led to the dog's death.
"It just wasn't doing well and couldn't get up," McLean said.
When he was found at the park, the dog had injuries to his head, legs and back, but X-rays showed no broken bones.
McLean said police located the original owner of the dog, an elderly man who recently had to be put into a care facility and couldn't keep the dog. He is not a suspect in the case, McLean said. The man recently released the dog to another Post Falls resident, McLean said.
McLean said police believe they know who the latest owner is, but declined to release any information, citing the ongoing investigation.
Several people stepped forward to take in the dog, but police believed it was best to not release him to a new home with the pending case and his condition.
McLean said the community has done a great job of giving police leads in the case.
"When something like this happens, it's just not right," McLean said. "We need to find out what happened and why."