Firefighters discovered the dog, named Crom, on the railroad tracks a few blocks away from the main strip in Centralia. Somebody had wrapped the doberman-lab-pit bull mix in a sweater and set him on fire.
The dog's owners, Tim Filer and Michelle Nelson, were devastated when he learned about what happened.
"I was hysterical when I saw him. I fell down on the tracks and I just kind of sobbed for a little while," Filer said.
Filer and Nelson said Crom ran out of the house chasing a cat about three weeks ago. They'd been looking for him ever since and never imagined they'd find him the way they did.
"I was pretty worried when he went missing, but then to have to pick him up and bury him," Nelson said.
It turns out things were even worse. When firefighters found the dog on the tracks, his head was missing. Weeks later they found his head, with his collar still around his neck.
The senseless killing has touched many people in the community.
"For somebody to do something like that -- or for anything like that to happen -- is pretty messed-up," said resident Chalib Crowl.
Centralia police are convinced a train did not run over the dog. They consider the killing an isolated incident, but have few leads.
"It's disgusting that they could do something like that to something that was alive," Filer said.
Filer and Nelson can't think of anyone who would attack Crom, but they hope whoever was behind the killing spends a long time behind bars.
Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call Centralia police or the Lewis County Crimestoppers.