The Gruesome and Heroic Afterlife of Peter the Dog
The grisly murder of Athol McCowan gripped a sleepy coastal region in Australia. But even more shocking was how the killer’s exhumed pet dog served as star witness in the trial.
Illustrations by Casey Roonan | Edited by Farah Mohammed
It was drizzling on the night Pretoria McPhail, a homeless woman, sought refuge inside an unlocked taxi parked near the Southport Esplanade, an hour’s drive south of Brisbane, Australia. Her dog, Boots, had started barking at a tall, thin man in a hat and overcoat who was striding past, his own dog trailing behind him. As she stumbled into the back seat of the cab, Boots’ barking intensified. McPhail later told The Truth newspaper that she had been overcome by a feeling of “cold and inexplicable horror ” as she scrambled out again and set off on foot to find somewhere else to sleep.