DES MOINES, Wash. - A Des Moines man is facing animal cruelty charges after he allegedly shot and killed an 11-year-old's dog while she was taking it for a walk.
According to court documents, the suspect was walking in a suburban Des Moines neighborhood on Jan. 12 with his dog when he came across the girl and her boxer dog named Tyson.
The 11-year-old tripped and dropped the leash, and Tyson ran off toward the suspect's dog. She yelled for her dog to return and after a short time, he turned around and began walking toward his owner, according to court documents.
The child said her dog was running back to her when the suspect shot him.
The suspect then walked up to the girl and her limping dog and shot Tyson a second time, according to court documents.
"No dog should be treated that way and no child should ever have to watch their dog be killed at all, much less be killed in that way," said neighbor Alex Gramps.
A witness told police that the suspect appeared to boast about shooting the dog.
The suspect initially told police that Tyson attacked him, and then said that Tyson had attacked his dog, according to court documents.
He later admitted to police that the dog did not attack him, and police and witnesses did not see any marks on the suspect's dog to indicate an attack.
He has been charged with first-degree animal cruelty and reckless endangerment.
The state requested bail be set at $5,000.
"His actions were cruel and dangerous. He is likely to commit an act of violence if he is free in the community in light of his actions here," prosecutors said.
This is the first animal cruelty case of 2022 in Pierce County.
Director of Communications at the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office Casey McNerthney said their county has seen a dramatic increase in the number of animal cruelty cases during the pandemic.
To put into perspective, there have been 25 cases of animal cruelty in 2020 – which more than doubled the two previous years combined. There were 21 cases in 2021 in just King County.
"Even though people are having a hard time during the pandemic, taking it out on animals is not the answer," McNerthney said.
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