FOREST GROVE, Ore. (KOMO4) -- He said he was trying to put a dog out of its misery but how he went about doing it is raising questions.
"I went out and I took a hammer and hit her and I thought I'd killed her pretty good," said Hyrum Long, about his 14-year-old dog, Molly, who he said had been suffering.
"When I left, she was not making no noise or movement," he said. "(Otherwise) I would have stayed with her and made sure she was dead."
Long said after striking the dog with a hammer and burying her, he and his family went to dinner. And that is when neighbors heard the dog's cries.
And what they discovered was shocking - a dog buried up to its neck and suffering from an obvious head injury. There was a pillow under the dog's head and a log on top of that.
"She dug her way out," said Long.
"She foamed at the mouth," said Susan Johnson, who also owns the dog. "She showed no signs of life and I wanted her buried here because I'm that close to my dog."
It turned out Molly was alive and she was taken to the Oregon Humane Society to be treated for multiple injuries. However, she was so badly hurt that they ended up euthanizing her.
"This is a bad, bad thing to see," said Kris Otteman with the Oregon Humane Society. "This is a really devastating case and the main issue with it is that I think it's obvious that the dog had been suffering for a long period of time."
The owners said they didn't have the money to euthanize the dog and ultimately just wanted to bury her at home. And they said they never meant to harm her.
"Now I wished I'd let her die on her own," said Long. "I'd never want to see an animal suffer like that."
Police say there are a lot of unanswered questions. A criminal case has been opened and possible charges include aggravated animal abuse