A beautiful blue sky in winter is rare, but what was found in sunny Woodend last Thursday is unfortunately not.
In an apparent display of heartless disposal and irresponsible pet ownership, two dead dogs were found inside a suitcase dumped by the Woodend Lagoon on Black Forest Drive around midday.
Pets Haven volunteers, Dannii Leask and Helen Marks, were on their way to the animal shelter when they noticed the red case.
"We have a habit of pulling over and checking out any boxes or bags on the side of the road, more often than not it's animals," Dannii said.
Inside the case, the volunteers found two small Pomeranian dogs wrapped in plastic garbage bags, one still sporting a pink collar.
Horrified, the women scanned the dogs for microchips which revealed they were five and six years old and registered to an owner in Docklands, Melbourne. A goods and services tax invoice from duty-free purchases was found inside the suitcase stating a full name, address, passport number and phone number matching the identity of the registered owner.
The dogs' state of decomposition indicates they may have died up to two or three weeks ago. They did not appear to have died inside the suitcase, and one dog appeared to have been dead longer than the other. The cause of death is unknown at this stage.
The stench of death is common around the lagoon area, being known as popular dumping ground for unwanted animals. The volunteers say dozens of kittens are dumped in bags in the kitten season due to owners not de-sexing their pets.
"We encounter this a lot, it's just another day," Helen says grimly, "It's just awful".
Local police officer, Sergeant David Jakobi, investigated the scene and took evidence. He said if it could be proven the owners were to blame they would be charged.
Macedon Ranges Shire rangers said they would be liaising with the Bendigo RSPCA in their investigation.
People who are unable to care for their animals are asked to surrender them to an animal shelter to be re-homed.
"We try to re-home them, so they don't end up in landfill like these ones will," Helen said. Anyone who has any information in relation to this incident is asked to contact Woodend Police on 5427 2610.