YOUNGSTOWN - James Dutting said he knew right away what it was when one of his dogs placed the ''treat'' in his yard Saturday afternoon on the rural East Side.
''I came outside and went over there, and it looked like a skull,'' Dutting said.
Dutting, who said he has lived on Vaughn Street on the East Side for most of his 71 years, had his nephew take a look. When his nephew also thought it to be a human skull, Dutting called 911.
Tribune Chronicle / Joe Gorman
James Dutting plays with one of his dogs Monday outside his Vaughn Street home in Youngstown. One of his dogs found a human skull in the woods near his home on Saturday.
''That was a little bit of a shock,'' Dutting said Monday.
Besides the skull, investigators with the Mahoning County Coroner's Office removed other bones the dogs had scattered from the yard for testing to see if they are human.
Detectives were also called to Dutting's home and are checking missing person reports to see if they can get a lead on identifying the skull.
Dutting lives in the last house on Vaughn Street, a dead-end street that has few houses and is surrounded by woods. Dutting said he has four dogs, all of them dumped there as puppies about six months ago, and he often walks them in the woods, which he was doing Monday morning.
Occasionally there are hunters in the neighborhood and Dutting said maybe that's who the skull belonged to.
''Maybe it was a hunter who went hunting and had an accident,'' Dutting said.
Dutting said his dogs have brought him bones before but Saturday's find was a little unusual.
The Sharon Line has been plauged in the past by illegal dumping and occassionally a dead body has been found in the area.
Dutting said his part of the neighborhood is generally pretty quiet.
Police Chief Rod Foley did not return a call seeking comment.