Dog brains found in the street in Gouverneur have everybody guessing how they got there
Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 2:37 pm


GOUVERNEUR -- Nine dog brains found in the road on Beckwith Street have police and locals baffled about who put them there and why.

Clover Forsythe, who lives nearby, said a neighbor found the scene reminiscent of “The Island of Dr. Moreau” while walking her dogs.

“I have no idea how they got there,” she said.

Gouverneur veterinarian Dr. Timothy Monroe examined one of them and said it could be from a beagle.

“In examining the specimen, weighing and measuring … it weighed 70 grams, which is consistent with a dog, beagle-sized brain,” Monroe said.

He says it had been removed from its former owner’s head with precision and skill, noting it was preserved with either formaldehyde or Formalin, a brand-name formaldehyde solution.

“It had been professionally removed and preserved … it was in very good condition, had not been damaged in any way,” according to Monroe. “You have to appreciate when you remove a brain from a skull, which is made of bone, you have to cut the bone all the way around. This had not been damaged, or nicked, or cut in its removal.”

“I supposed it was somebody’s collection that had outlived its usefulness and been disposed of,” Monroe said.

He said various animal brains are available for purchase online, like sheep and cow, which are often eaten. However, most outlets for preserved dog brains won’t sell them to just anybody.

“You have to be in an educational setting,” he said.

Alisa Woods, an assistant professor of chemistry and biomolecular science at Clarkson University, says it's possible they came from sheep.

""Those could also be sheep brains, which are more commonly used in dissection laboratories," Woods said after seeing a photo of the brains on NorthCountryNow. "They look more like sheep brains to me."

Gouverneur Police Sgt. Gordon Ayen agrees that there’s nothing to worry about. He said his only concern is that someone littered in a village roadway and unnecessarily alarmed the public.

“It’s nothing to be really concerned about, other than somebody polluted a particular street in our community,” Ayen said. “It’s concerning from the standpoint of putting them out there in the street to have to look at, to alarm everybody.”

He said he fielded the initial report this morning and has no leads.

Both Ayen and Monroe said this is the first time they’ve ever seen anything like this.

Forsythe, who is also chairperson of Friends 4 Pound Paws, says she’s glad no one is killing dogs and cutting out their brains.

“We were all really concerned. People do terrible things in this world … I’m glad somebody didn’t actually kill them,” she said.

She theorized that they could have been tossed from a train traveling on the nearby tracks.

“We think somebody threw them off the train. It goes by quite often,” she said. “It’s just a sick prank somebody did. They’ll probably never find who did it.”