Fred and Barney were the names of the two German Shepards owned by Gerald Anthony Grice, an unemployed Brooklynite who, in the summer of 1975, kidnapped and murdered a young girl, Blair Roche, whose family Grice believed were wealthy enough for a hefty ransom. Grice not only murdered the girl, but also butchered her body and fed it to his dogs.
Having traced Grice to his Brooklyn home, a disused dressmaker's shop called Modern Modes, Rorschach observed Fred and Barney fighting over a "knob of bone" in Grice's back yard, but initially did not think anything of it. Only after searching through the rest of the house did he come to the realization that the bone was a femur of the young girl's. In retaliation, Rorschach killed both dogs with Grice's meat cleaver, splitting each dog's head open. He waited for Grice to return home and threw both carcasses at him through the windows.
While being interviewed by Dr. Malcolm Long in prison, Walter Kovacs was shown an inkblot card which reminded him of one of the dead dogs lying on the ground with its head split open, but instead tells him that he sees 'a pretty butterfly'.
The dogs themselves were named for Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, popular cartoon characters from The Flintstones.