Dog returns home alone with ripped leash after owner killed in hit-and-run, police say

Family members said they knew something was wrong when the dog returned home alone. (Source: WANF)
Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 12:22 PM CDT
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HENRY COUNTY, Ga. (WANF/Gray News) – A dog who returned home alone with his leash ripped in half led to the discovery of his disabled owner who was killed in a hit-and-run, police in Georgia said.

According to the Henry County Police Department, Robert Stalter left his home with his dog Smoke on Saturday morning for their routine walk in the Audubon Estates neighborhood.

Smoke came back to the house alone with his leash ripped in half. Family members said they knew something was wrong and went searching for Stalter. They found he had been hit by a car while in his wheelchair and left to suffer from his injuries, police said.

Stalter, 51, later died.

He was a double leg amputee and used a wheelchair to get around.

Police said they are looking for the suspect. Officers said the vehicle – a gray 2008 Nissan Altima – remained on the scene, but the driver fled on foot.

Police said the person of interest was seen wearing red shorts and a grey shirt.

Chrissy Stalter, the victim’s sister, is begging anyone with information to come forward.

“Everyone knew him and the dog. He loved his family. He loved being surrounded by them,” she said. “Somebody knows who did it. The neighbors do. I just wish somebody would say something.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Investigator Combs at 770-288-8290 or the Henry County non-emergency dispatch at 770-957-9121. Tipsters can also send photos and videos to 770-220-7009 via text.