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LAPORTE — A 5-month-old puppy found dead in its home last week may have injured himself and died of asphyxiation.

On April 3, police received a report of a home burglary in the 1300 block of Federal Avenue. The victims of the burglary reported the only thing missing was their dog, Captain, a Labrador/great Pyrenees mix.

On Friday, the victim located the dog dead, with a bag over its head and injuries consistent with being beaten. The dog was found in a room not frequently used and was missed during the initial search of the home by the homeowner.

Detective Sgt. Brett Airy has been working the case and obtained additional information with the assistance of Dr. Patrick Dorroh from All Creature Features, according to a news release from Capt. Bill Degnegaard.

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"Dr. Dorroh completed an exam of the dog and did not observe any serious injuries but did show signs of asphyxiation. At this time we believe that the dog possibly escaped from its own cage and got its head stuck in a potato chip bag. As the dog attempted to remove the bag from its head it started to thrash around causing some minor injuries," Degnegaard said.

As Airy continued to investigate, he found that such instances of pet death occur periodically throughout the United States each year. Animals get their heads stuck when attempting to eat from food bags. The animal will start thrashing its head and can suffocate in less than five minutes, Degnegaard said.

"We would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family who lost a family pet and hope this is a lesson for all local pet owners on the dangers of everyday items in their homes," Degnegaard said.

For additional information, visit preventivevet.com/dogs/pet-suffocation-awareness.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.