Japanese police have launched a criminal investigation after the bodies of around 40 dogs were found dumped by a river in the east of the country, officials said Saturday.
A passer-by reported finding the dogs, most of which were small breeds and had not been dead long, in Sakura City on Friday.
"Some dogs were in the water and others were scattered around the area," a local police spokesman said, adding that some of the animals were wearing pet clothing.
The police have yet to determine who dumped the animals.
Jiji Press news agency said the police suspect an animal undertaker may have dumped the dogs but authorities only said they were "looking into various possibilities".