Debo and Princess were, for all intents and purposes, Daryl Sewell’s children. The father and daughter blue-nosed pit bulls had been members of the family since they were puppies, always good with kids.
So when Sewell returned from the Memorial Day Weekend to find his Philadelphia auto body shop, PSK Custom Collision, broken into and his dogs gone, he was distraught. He thought they'd been taken too.
"As I was looking around, I noticed a car [with dog food in the back] was moved like they were trying to remove it from the shop,” Sewell says. "I thought the people stole the dogs and were trying to take the dog food.”
Sewell reported the burglary to police on Tuesday.
He began canvasing his Frankford neighborhood around the 4800 block of Duffield Street, hoping he might see them walking the streets or at the park. However, upon searching a customer’s car on the lot on Thursday, he discovered his dogs in the back, dead.
"For me, that was the equivalent of finding my children stuck in the back of the car,” Sewell says. "It’s murder, it’s open murder. You kill two dogs that never hurt nobody, so that’s how I’m looking at it. It’s murder, so it should be treated like one.”
The dogs were brought to the Pennsylvania SPCA to be examined by forensic veterinarians.
"It’s pretty gruesome,” Director of Law Enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA George Bengal said. "We do not know if the animals were deceased and put in the car or were put in the car and succumbed in the car.”
Sewell, though, believes that the dogs were killed before being placed in the vehicle. “They were upside down…they look like they were placed or tossed in there.”
Bengal says the individuals responsible for the burglary will face charges for cruelty to animals.
Sewell is confident that the perpetrators will be caught. "This ain’t over by a long shot, as far as I’m concerned, the people who’s responsible for this, they’re definitely gonna pay. This is not gonna go unchecked.”