ST. PETERSBURG — When the body of a pit bull was found in a suitcase floating near a dock south of downtown Thursday, it appeared to be an act of animal cruelty.
But police later found that not to be so.
The blue suitcase contained a female, gray and black, 30- to 35-pound pit bull that had trauma to its head and body. The woman whose name was on the suitcase told authorities she had thrown the suitcase into an apartment complex trash receptacle months ago, but knew nothing about the dog.
As word spread about the incident, Samuel Orsini and Gina Glass came forward and told police it was their dog. The two, whom police said are mentally disabled, lived in the apartment complex.
They told police Orsini had been walking the dog, named Beloved, when he lost hold of the leash. Beloved ran into Fourth Street South, and she was hit by a car.
Police say Orsini carried Beloved back to the apartment complex, but the dog died from her injuries. Distraught, Orsini and Glass called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to see if it would come for the dog. They were told it would cost $55, which they couldn’t afford. They subsequently tried to bury the dog at the apartment complex, something their landlord frowned upon, telling them instead to throw the dog’s body into the trash receptacle.
The couple then thought of the canal, which they referred to as “the lake.” Beloved liked to swim there, so it seemed an appropriate burial site.
They found the suitcase in the trash container, and placed the dog’s body in some trash bags before putting it in the suitcase. Glass tried to fill the suitcase partially with water to help it sink, police said. That didn’t work, and the suitcase was found floating near a dock Thursday morning.
A necropsy was being performed on the dog, and police do not expect to bring charges against the couple.