Calgary police say alleged dog abuse never happened, now probing online fundraising campaign

A Siberian husky and kitten were found dead with their mouths taped shut in this Calgary alley.

A case of alleged animal abuse in Calgary has taken a bizarre turn.

Alyssa Hatfield and fiance Cameron Edmonds earlier this month reported their dog Radar had vanished from the couple's backyard.

Edmonds said he searched the neighbourhood and found the Akita-Husky cross hog-tied with nylon rope with a belt wrapped around his muzzle.

The the incident was similar to two cases in January where a Husky was found dead in a Calgary alley with its mouth taped shut and a kitten was found nearby in the same condition.

[ Related: Husky, kitten found dead, muzzled in Calgary alley ]

The case renewed a public outcry about animal abuse. Edmonds was in tears during an interview with CTV News two weeks ago as he described how he felt about whoever had been so cruel to his dog.

Hatfield told the Calgary Sun she and Edmonds were in shock over the abduction.

“It’s very traumatic for all of us and Radar’s energy level has not come back up,” she said. “He’s not the same dog. He’s very stressed out."

But now police have dropped the investigation, saying it appears Radar was not abused at all, The Canadian Press reports. The veterinarian who examined the dog found no signs of injury consistent with being tied up and having his muzzle bound.

Instead, they're looking into possible fraud and mischief charges connected to an online fundraising effort to pay the couple's vet bills, CP said.

More than two dozen people donated a total of $1,745 towards the $1,100 medical tab before the account, set up by a friend of the couple, was frozen.

"The person who set up the account did so in good faith, believed the people and their story and has put a stop on that account," Staff Sgt. Brad Moore said. "No money is coming in or out."

[ Related: Tens of thousands raised in horrific animal abuse case ]

Edmonds and Hatfield told CTV News they would be returning the money and denied that the whole thing was a hoax.

"We would never make anything like this up," they said in a statement to CTV News on Thursday evening. "We are returning all the funds for Radar's vet bills, not because we did anything wrong, but because of the damage this has done to our reputations."

A message posted Thursday on the site Radar's Vet Bills said the fundraising campaign "was started in good faith based on information provided at the time. Since then, there have been new findings and as a result, all monies raised is being returned to the individual contributors."

The fundraising effort initially claimed Radar suffered eye damage and seizures since the alleged abduction and would need additional tests to track his recovery.

Both Edmonds and Hatfield had been volunteers at the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, which was supposed to get any surplus money from the fundraising campaign.

Society executive director Deanna Thompson told CP her organization had not received any money and the couple has been suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation.

Police have stopped short of accusing the couple of perpetrating a scam.

"I can't tell you what their thoughts were," Moore said. "What I can say is we found no evidence to substantiate any of the claims."