Published: Oct 05, 2011 6:16 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 05, 2011 10:33 PM EDT

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- A stomach-turning scene was discovered in a Lehigh Acres neighborhood. A dog was found decapitated, just feet away from homes.

"It's bad enough when a dog is hurt on accident, but when you realize someone did it on purpose, what else can you think besides just shock?" said Nichole Shepherd, who lives just feet from where the dog was found.

The large-breed dog was found with its head cut off Tuesday night on Cummings Street East with bloody clothes and a lit candle burning next to it.

"I go over to look at it and I see gloves and ripped pants, a ripped shirt with blood all over it. The concrete still has blood all over it," said Thomas Filbert, who lives nearby.

A Lee County Sheriff's deputy investigated the crime Tuesday night, but Wednesday afternoon the disturbing sight was left out in the open, well over twelve hours since it was first reported.

"I just made a phone call and found out I'm not the first one to tell someone about this. We have kids right down the street that I see coming down here all the time and playing by the canal," Shepherd said.

Animal Control says the Sheriff's Office didn't notify them of the crime until Wednesday afternoon.

An Animal Investigator came out to search the area and clean up the scene. Marks on the dog suggest it was a pit bull, likely involved in a dog fighting ring.

Neighbors say the gruesome crime is leaving the entire neighborhood on edge.

"The essence of the person that did this is evil. To not even care about the things that God created, to have this vicious and hideous type spirit, just to perform an act like that," said Dave Sands, who lives close to where the dog was found.

Lee County Sheriff's Office and Animal Control are investigating this case of animal cruelty.

If you have any information, you're asked to call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.