A disturbing discovery is fuelling fears something awful is happening to dogs in southeastern Manitoba.
Multiple residents in the area have reported their dogs disappearing recently.
Rachel Wiebe was driving Wednesday on a highway near New Bothwell, when she spotted something.
In the ditch, she said she saw what appeared to be a skinned dog propped up in the snow.
A set of footprints was beside it, making it seem someone had deliberately placed the animal there for everyone to see.
She took pictures of the scene and reported her discovery.
Some residents believe their animals are being stolen and fear what is being done to their beloved pets.
"We're not fearful, we're angry -- angry that people are coming into our property and taking our animals that are like our family," said Cathy Brule, whose dog has disappeared.
Greg Mitchell, who runs the Facebook group Winnipeg Lost Dog Alert, says people think there is a co-ordinated effort to steal some breeds of dogs.
But police said they don't have any evidence of that.
"I would caution people not to come to conclusions and don't become panicked about your animals. And of course people care about their pets; they're family members and I understand. We'll go where the evidence leads us and we'll follow this through," said RCMP Cpl. Miles Hiebert.
Police said that while the dead animal may look like a dog, it could be a coyote.
A veterinarian has been called to determine the species and the cause of death.
-- The Canadian Press