First, Ivan Pavlov would sever a dog's esophagus and sew the loose ends to its throat, leaving a pair of adjacent holes that connected, by separate passages, to its mouth and stomach.Then he'd slice through the dog's abdomen, carve a hole in the wall of its stomach, and stitch open another permanent wound.The team devoted much of its energy to a notorious Amish market down in Lancaster County, known as the Green Dragon.
Over the next few days, Julia mobilized her family in a desperate search for the missing dog.
According to a short version of the incident that was published five months later, improbably, in the pages of , "all during the following week, a heartbroken Mrs.
They checked with the neighbors up the hill and drove to the top of Blue Mountain to call for Pepper from the ridge under the power lines.
Julia posted signs and telephoned everyone she knew.
"You'd go to let her back in, and she'd be laying on the porch, waiting." For the first time that any of them could remember, Pepper was nowhere to be seen.
Michael remembers standing in front of the house, calling into the darkness.There were plenty of other dogs racing around their farm at the bottom of Blue Mountain, but the Dalmatian named Pepper—trim and affectionate, pelted with splotches of black—was always Mom's favorite.Julia Lakavage preferred to take in strays, but she made an exception when she saw Pepper at the decrepit Spatterdash kennel a few miles down the road.The dog, left hungry from the night before, would be harnessed to a wooden stand and presented with a bowl of raw meat.No matter how much it ate, it never got full—the dog chewed and swallowed, but the masticated meat would erupt from its esophageal opening and dribble back into the bowl, whereupon the dog would lap it up all over again.Navy veteran Frank Mc Mahon led the investigation and hired Dec Hogan, a rough-and-tumble nightclub owner, to pose as a dealer in the field.Along with another investigator, Dale Hylton, they began to stake out the rural auctions where stray animals were traded before being shipped off to research laboratories in big cities.When they opened the door half an hour later, the dog wasn't there."Pepper always came, no matter what," says Michael.Stolen dogs, they said, were being sold to laboratories and subjected to painful experiments.In 1961, Walt Disney had released —a hugely successful film about pet theft—and the Humane Society of the United States had begun to look into a network of illegal animal dealers operating across Pennsylvania and Maryland.