A Wicklow man says he "cried like a newborn baby" after he dug up the remains of his decapitated pet Chihuahua.
Kieran Keogh, from Rathdrum, yesterday handed over the remains of his beloved Mousey, who he says was dognapped and beheaded last week.
Gardai are investigating the beheading, which has sent shockwaves through the community.
Our pictures show the moment that officers in Rathdrum removed the dog's corpse for a forensic analysis.
Gardai are understood to have given Mr Keogh the option of removing Mousey's remains himself from a homemade grave in his garden.
Officers leading the investigation have interviewed both Mr Keogh (42) and his partner Andy.
Speaking to the Herald last night, Mr Keogh said he became deeply emotional after digging up his Chihuahua.
However, he added: "It shows the people out there who are doubting me that I'm telling the truth."
Mr Keogh said some people in the community had suggested that he was responsible for the death of his dog, which he had owned for three years.
"For anyone to think I would do something so sick makes me so angry," he added.
Gardai are due to return to the couple's home today in order to retrieve Mousey's head.
Mr Keogh said he had no idea why anyone would target him or his partner.
"I have no grievance with anybody in the area," he said.
Having discovered his pet's mutilated body, Mr Keogh began searching the neighbourhood frantically for Mousey's head.
When he returned home, he found the Chihuahua's head had been left on the back doorstep.
"I put the backyard light on and there he was with his little tongue sticking out and eyes looking up at me," he said.
"I've never been so sick in my life. He had only just turned three.
"Whoever did this deserves to have their own head cut off."
Sources last night said Mousey's remains would be sent to the garda's veterinary section for examination.
Officers are understood to be continuing to investigate a number of lines of inquiry.
Gardai have asked anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area to call Wicklow Garda Station on (0404) 67107.