SICKLERVILLE, N.J. (CBS) — The dog’s name was Lily and she was just four- months-old.

Her death was first deemed an accident, but turned out to be something more sinister and criminal, according to investigators with the New Jersey State S.P.C.A.

“Someone had intentionally put the dog onto the little sign, hanging it, which caused the strangulation of the dog,” Lt. Thomas Yanisko explained.

According to the owner of the Pekingese puppy, Angelina Circone, the dog was a gift for her children.

“My son is special needs and everyday I hear them, my son’s like ‘Where’s Lily?’ My daughter’s like ‘Where’s Lily?’ And I’m like doggy heaven,” Circone said.

We’re told Lily was out in Circone’s fenced-in backyard with her sister, Gloria. But somehow Lily disappeared only to be found dead blocks away off of Sicklerville Road. That was on May 24th.

“So what we did was we partnered with the Humane Society of the United States and they helped us come up with the reward money,” Lt. Yanisko said.

Investigators are now going around the neighborhood posting reward signs. This as Circone continues to wonder who could be so cruel and heartless. “Why this person would do that to my puppy?”

There is a $3,000 reward offered in this case for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of the puppy.

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“Tying a defenseless puppy to a sign post and leaving her to slowly die of asphyxiation is distressingly cruel,” said Kathleen Schatzmann, The HSUS’ New Jersey state director. “We hope our reward will help find the perpetrator of this crime.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call: 1-800-582-5979 or log onto

Reported by Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3

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