Boston

3 dead dogs found in abandoned U-Haul van in Mattapan, Boston police say

Officers who arrived and unlocked the van faced an awful smell and found bugs flying around inside, according to a police report

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Three dead dogs were found in an abandoned U-Haul van in Boston's Mattapan neighborhood Tuesday night, Boston police said Wednesday, asking for help determining what happened.

A person called 911 to report the dogs inside the van, parked on Edgewater Drive near Topalian Street, just before 9 p.m., according to a police report. The caller said the van had been abandoned at the location for some time and was emitting a terrible smell.

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Officers who arrived and unlocked the van confirmed the awful smell and found bugs flying around inside, according to the report. They saw a dead dog inside a crate — eventually, the bloated bodies of three dogs, two female and one male, were removed from the vehicle.

Witnesses told investigators that the dogs had been alive within the previous few days, including on July 4, when barking was heard from the vehicle while fireworks went off in the area. A witness also said that they saw two people with cleaning supplies at the van Monday morning, and officers observed a bottle of bleach on the sidewalk nearby, according to the report.

The U-Haul, which had a bag of dog food inside, had not been reported stolen, but the officers weren't able to determine where van had been rented from, the report said. Witnesses also said they'd seen the van being driven around the area.

"I've been observing that van for, like weeks, that van had been parked there," said Yves Vilarson, who lives nearby.

Vilarson said there were "maybe 1,000 flies" inside the truck, and a smell was coming from it.

The report didn't say how the dogs are believed to have died, though temperatures reached into the 90s at the start of the week in Boston.

Anyone with information about the death of the dogs was asked to contact detectives at 617-343-5607, or by reaching out anonymously to Boston police, either by calling 800-494-TIPS or by texting "TIP" to the number 27463 (which spells CRIME).

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