A stray dog in Yigo that neighborhood residents befriended and named Walter was found severely injured and died after he was brutally attacked on Liberation Day. An investigation is underway into an alleged suspect who is believed to be a military service member.
Guam Animals In Need officials said it was along a quiet street that some children found Walter, an arthritic boonie mix, severely injured on July 22.
“Walter was one of the neighborhood boonies. He was a friendly old guy. He had a personality and he would greet all of us whenever we came home,” said Patrick Maloney, a Yigo resident.
“Someone had slit the side and back of his neck,” GAIN officials stated in a press release. “When he was discovered bleeding, the children rushed to their parents, who were shocked to find the extent of Walter's injuries; a severe knife cut along the back and side of his neck exposed deep muscle and bone.”
Multiple neighbors rushed to get Walter to a veterinary clinic.
However, the extent of his injuries was so severe that there was no other option but to euthanize him.
“It’s sad. I was surprised to see him go that way,” Maloney said. “First thing everybody talks about when we get together is him. There is definitely some grieving and anger and tension in the neighborhood.”
"We're told that when Walter was found, he was clearly in pain, but he approached the families he recognized and wagged his tail. He still trusted humans. But he was unable to lift his head due to the injuries to his neck," said Cyrus Luhr, GAIN board president.
“He knew how to sit and shake hands on command, leading residents to believe he'd once been owned and abandoned when his family left Guam. He spent his days sleeping in carports, playing with children as young as 7, and was fed by four to five families along the street.”
My heart is broken
Former Yigo resident Rhianne Ring confirmed to The Guam Daily Post that it was her family who came up with the dog's name.
“Walter had actually adopted our family as his place to lay his head at night. He would sleep in our carport and protect the Chalan Gualo street. We would bring him inside from bad storms, let him cool off from the Guam heat, and feed him and his pack scraps and treats and leave water outside for him. ... He was the most loving, patient, kind, goofy pup that was easily loved by everyone that met him,” Ring said. “We attempted multiple times to try to make Walter ours for good. However, he wanted to live his life on the streets; he was the OG of Chalan La Chance. He didn’t like being inside for too long, nor did he like being put in a crate; trust me – we tried.”
Ring and her family have since left the island.
“We had to say goodbye and it broke my family’s hearts. We wanted so desperately to bring him with us, but with the way Walter was, he wouldn’t have been happy to spend a 30-hour flight back to the states, and we didn’t want to put him through that. We knew there were still plenty of people on the block and in the neighborhood that would keep an eye out for him for us.”
Ring stated she was sickened at the thought that someone could do harm to Walter, or any animal for that matter.
"My heart is broken,” she said.
GAIN officials allege the suspected attacker is a military service member.
"If someone is sick enough to attempt to behead a friendly old dog, they are dangerously disturbed and have no place serving in our armed forces," he said.
The military responded to the Post regarding the incident, stating, "Joint Region Marianas is aware of an incident involving a sailor allegedly attacking a dog near his residence and we are fully cooperating with local authorities, who have the investigative lead. We expect our personnel to uphold the highest standards of conduct both on and off duty."
The Navy is also investigating the incident.
The alleged attacker has not been identified.
GAIN officials said they continue to advocate for Bill 185-35, the PAWS Act (also known as Pugua's Law), which is currently being reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General of Guam. The measure would strengthen animal cruelty laws in Guam.