A rural Texas firefighter sparked fury this week after he posted a graphic photo to Facebook that showed the bodies of two dogs he appears to have killed.
"Somebody didn't put any truth my warning. Keep your damn dogs on your property," Union Valley Fire Department member Tim Conatser wrote Tuesday, according to a screen shot obtained by the Greenville Herald-Banner.
The photo shows the dogs, one light and one dark, lying lifeless in the snow, with what looks like blood stains near the darker dog's head.
The Union Valley Fire Department, whose phone rang without answer Wednesday afternoon, wrote on its Facebook page that it did not condone Conatser's purported actions and that "we are following our policy in removing him from our department."
Hunt County Constable Terry Jones confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that his office had opened an investigation into the animals' killing, which he said happened in an unincorporated part of the county that doesn't have leash laws or animal control.
Conatser, whom officials said lives about 30 miles northeast of Dallas, could not be immediately reached for comment, and his Facebook profile appears to have been taken down after the screen shot of his photo went viral and outraged messages began pouring in to area officials.
"People that think they have the right to do something like this then brag about it should be put in prison," one man wrote on the Facebook page of the Union Valley Fire Department, earning more than 500 "likes" for his comment. "If you could kill a defenseless animal in good conscious, you're are a monster."
Texas animal cruelty laws make it illegal to kill a pet without an owner's consent unless the animal "was discovered on the person's property in the act of or after injuring or killing the person's livestock animals or damaging the person's crops and that the person killed or injured the animal at the time of this discovery."