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OAKLAND CITY, Ind. – A family is mourning the loss of their dogs who were fatally shot and left discarded in garbage bags on the side of a road.

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“I loved them, it’s just hard, I want to know who did this, people in the neighborhood are also terrified,” owner Megan Meeks told WEHT. “We’ve had several neighbors scared to death to let their dogs out. Because they’re scared of what might happen to their dogs.”

The Meeks let their dogs Jax and Willow out to play Sunday, but after 30 minutes, they never returned. The family tried searching and used social media to try and find the dogs as well. On Thursday, they were found on the side of the road in trash bags along with a couple of dead chickens.

“It appeared that they had been shot,” Meeks said. “They took their collars off, so they knew they did something wrong. In a way I think it’s a message that if someone did find the dogs, that this is why we killed them. But in another way I think they were hoping they weren’t found. I think they were hoping they would just be picked up with the trash. Because that’s what they treated them like, like trash. They weren’t garbage to us.”

The family is working with the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office. However, investigators said they are limited in what possible charges the culprit could face.

“She said if we find any kind of evidence that would match someone, they would be happy to go talk to them,” Meeks said. “If they can prove that it happened on their property, they can’t do anything about it except fining them for a dumping fee for dumping our dogs.”

Meeks is asking for help to get information about whoever is responsible.

“We need kindness and this is complete opposite, like I want to raise my kid to know the difference between right and wrong, and no kid should ever have to go through this,” she said.