A Wallingford town commissioner found a dead dog with a gunshot wound to the head in a town preserve on Thursday.
Police were called to the Tyler Mill Preserve on Tyler Mill Road just after 1 p.m.
A member of Wallingford's Conservation Commission found the dog they are calling "Noel" wrapped in blue tarp at the bottom of an embankment, according to police.
The dog had been shot in the back of the head and died a slow, painful death, police said.
Authorities described as a brown, female shepherd mix, was about one to three years old, with two white back paws. It was spayed and appeared to be healthy, police said. There was no collar or tags on the animal.
They believe the dog was left in the 24 hours before the body was found and said it's impossible to know whether the animal was killed there or somewhere else.
The Tyler Mill Preserve is a 1,000-acre piece of land owned by Wallingford. It is popular for hiking, fishing and mountain biking.
Anyone who may have witness anything is asked to call Wallingford police at 203-294-2805.
The person responsible for the dog's death could face animal cruelty charges if caught.