TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Law enforcement officers are investigating the gruesome discovery of five puppies, deliberately drowned at a local park.

Animal control officials believe it likely happened Wednesday night. The puppies were found in Bramble Park, which is surrounded by homes. When authorities arrived, the found a plastic crate, apparently used to commit the crime. 

“We believe they placed the puppy in it, closed the lid, and then held the crate under water until they believe the puppies were drowned, and then drug it back out and then removed the body, and then would go on to the next one,” said Texarkana, Ark. Animal Control Director Kayla Tucker.

In all, officials said five puppies, about 8 to 10 weeks old, were found in various locations around the lake. “It was pretty obvious they weren’t drowned all at the same time, they did them one by one, and so you just have to ask yourself, mentally, how somebody is capable of doing that over and over. And then also, it makes you concerned about you know, future incidents and if it could possibly turn over into taking that mentality out on humans as well,” Tucker said.

A $1,200 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Authorities said someone with a tip, can remain anonymous. 

The Animal Care and Adoption Center, the public animal shelter in Texarkana, Ark., had not been accepting owner surrenders because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tucker said as of Thursday, that temporary policy had been lifted. Although it’s unknown if that would have prevented the crime they are now investigating, Tucker said, “We’re hoping to avoid anything like this in the future.”