WINCHESTER – Already grieving the loss of a beloved canine, a village family is now coming to terms with being swindled by a Morewood-based “pet cemetery.”

This comes after the body of the family’s beagle was found buried among the trash in a dumpster outside a village retail store.

The discovery was made late last month when a Dollarama employee was taking garbage to the receptacle in the rear of the Winchester Crossing Plaza.

Store staff immediately called in the Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry OPP, who then handed the case off to the area’s canine control officer, Kevin Casselman, due to a lack of criminality with the case.

It was Casselman who then tracked down the dog’s owner, since the animal was still wearing a red harness and was wrapped in a red blanket.

The story is unconscionable for many, far beyond the cruelty of the dispersal process, but also that the family paid handsomely to have the dog buried appropriately.

“It seems the owner of the dog had called this individual that runs the so-called pet cemetery, and they came and picked up the dog,” Casselman told the Winchester Press last week. “Obviously they didn’t bury it like the family had been told, and they just took it down the road to the dumpster.”

He added that it was “pretty simple to catch” those responsible for leaving the dog in the waste bin.

“I just called them up and pretended to be family, I asked about them picking up the dog and they admitted to getting it,” Casselman said.

One thing that is clear, however, is that the canine did in fact die of natural causes long before it was thrown in the dumpster.

“It had a lot wrong with it… Internal stuff, and a large growth on the back leg,” Casselman said. “I can’t believe a vet never made the family have it put down sooner.”

For now, the dog’s body remains in Casselman’s possession, having been frozen not long after he gathered it from the dumpster.

He told the Press he has brought the case back to the OPP in the event an arrest will be made. If not, the region’s Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will be brought in.