'Last Warning' -- Woman describes letter that came after her dog - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

'Last Warning' -- Woman describes letter that came after her dog was shot

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For dogs like Banjo, life on the farm is pretty good. But it was better with Chico around, said their owner, Donna Ponto.

“They just hit it off,” she said.

Banjo and Chico spent their days roaming around the Ponto's seven acres between Greene and Charles City. But on January 31, Chico didn't come back. His body was found in a ditch about a mile from home. The family figured he was hit by a car.

Then the letter came.

“I felt physically ill,” she said.

It was addressed to their veterinarian in Greene.

“Tell your client to keep their (expletive) dogs tied up,” she read. “This one is dead. He was caught chasing deer three miles from home. And he said ‘last warning.'”

The note came a few days after Chico was found. They later realized he was shot.

Ponto said they felt intimidated.

“When I saw this I said to the sheriff, what does that mean, ‘last warning?'” she said.

The letter wasn't signed, but Donna has a message for the sender.

“You are a coward,” she said. “If you're that angry, come to us personally.”

And thinking about her dog's killer removing the tags, and writing that letter —

“I don't want to think about it, because he didn't have a chance,” she said. “I don't know what to think about it.”

The family is working with the Floyd County Sheriff's office to figure out what happened. Deputies tell KWWL they have some leads, but nothing substantial.

They do believe the suspect knew the area well, though they're not sure what they would charge that person with.

“I'm just heartbroken,” Ponto said. “He was my boy. He was our boy. It's like you murdered a part of our family. What do we do with that?”

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