‘It’s like a horror movie’: Families ‘devastated’ after dead dog found in vehicle | News

ASHLAND The hearts of two families are “broken” and “devastated” after a dog was found dead inside a van in an Ashland neighborhood Monday.

Hannah Smith, who has owned Lucy, a chocolate lab mix for 10 years, is still trying to find an answer to the main question: how did her dog end up in the truck? She has put out a call for help from the public and is offering a reward for any information on what happened.

ABOVE: The dog’s decomposing fluid is seen in the Kaskeys’ driveway on Monday. LEFT: Lucy is seen as a puppy in this submitted photo.

The Fourth of July fireworks sent her dog into a frenzy, so much so that he broke through the screen door of her home, she said. After “several days” of searching, she was notified via social media by a neighbor who lives about four houses away that the dog had died inside their Chevy 2500 on Monday, July 8.

“She was our daughter before we had our son. She was the smartest, almost human-like dog. The sweetest dog on the planet. She got us through some tough times in our lives. She was the best dog in the world,” Smith said, choking up. “I try not to get emotional.”

The Ashland Police Department responded to a call on Elwood Drive and spoke with the truck’s owners — Jerome and Kathy Kaskey — on July 8. According to the police report, it was evident from “bite” and “claw” marks inside the vehicle that Lucy had entered the truck alive.

“I had to make my son stay in the car. We had to lie to him,” Smith said. “We tried to make it more toddler-friendly, but he’s probably more devastated than any of us. She was my son’s best friend and protector. (…) It’s just disgusting and I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make any sense.”

The report says the dog’s decomposing fluids seeped onto the truck floor, through the bottom of the door and into Kaskey’s driveway.


The dog’s decomposing fluid is visible on Monday, July 8, in the Kaskeys’ driveway.

“Something is leaking out of your truck, it looks like antifreeze,” Kaskey recalled telling her husband before the animal was found. It was “torture” knowing the liquid substance came from the dog, she said.

“It’s like a horror movie,” Smith added.

Smith had tried to alert the surrounding community on Facebook to see if her pet was missing. After posting several messages, she was finally informed by Kaskey that the dog had been found.

“I immediately went to her house once she sent me her address,” she said.

The residences are separated by about a tenth of a mile.

“I was at work and I went to security and I left. I didn’t understand. I was shocked. If someone had told me she had been hit, or was lying on the road, or bitten by a coyote, my brain would have understood it a little better,” Smith said.

She said colleagues, friends and family began searching for Lucy after noticing her absence.

“We thought all the doors were locked, but at the back of our house there is a sliding door and my son had just closed the screen and not the door. When she didn’t come back the next day, I was worried there was something wrong,” she said.

“I’ve known this couple for 17 years,” Smith said of the Kaskeys, her neighbors. “I didn’t see her for a few years, but I’ve known them pretty much forever. Finding out she was the one who found it made it even harder. We started grieving together.”

Before July 8, Jerome Kaskey had last driven the truck on July 2, she said. The truck’s doors were opened the morning of July 4 to install a car seat in the vehicle and that was the last time the truck was seen empty.

“He’s still traumatized,” Kathy said. “He can’t get over the initial shock of the door opening.” It was Jerome who found Lucy, she said.

Her husband had brain surgery that left him with a loss of smell. Kaskey said he had been driving the vehicle to run errands and noticed an abundance of flies. That’s when he found the dead dog.

“I haven’t slept, I can’t sleep. When I sleep, I dream that something happens to my dogs,” she said, crying softly and her voice breaking. “My God, it horrifies me to think about that poor dog and what he went through.”

Kathy, a “dog lover” who owns 10 dogs, said she feared for her animals’ lives after witnessing what happened.

“They’re going to walk onto my property, into my front yard, right outside my living room window and open our truck door, which we thought was locked and put an injured dog in my truck, in this heat… they must be sick in the head,” she said furiously.

She has lived in the neighborhood for two years and has ruled out the possibility that the dog jumped out the window, Kaskey said. She believes someone deliberately left the dog in the truck, she added.

“It’s a big truck, we pull a camper with it. There’s not a scratch on the outside of that truck, nothing. She would have never been able to jump in it even if the windows had been open, but they weren’t,” she said.

Lucie 2


After examining the dog, there was a puncture wound and part of a leg bone was sticking out, Kaskey said.

“Someone picked her up, brought her and put her in my car. I want to find this guy. What was done can be considered a threat,” she said.

“They might have to destroy our truck, they just towed it from our house. We couldn’t get the smell out,” Kaskey said.

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