Boys accused in dog's beating death

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Three local boys have been accused of aggravated cruelty to animals and named in petitions asking that the Juvenile Court declare them delinquents.

The petitions resulted from the beating death of a dog stolen from a Lambert Street resident Friday night. The teens have been held at the Bedford County Juvenile Detention Center.

Lewisburg Police Officer Russell Grubbs and Cpl. Chris Sawyers were dispatched just before 11 p.m. Friday to a Lambert Street house where Joy Dalton told them her dog was missing from its chain in the yard and that she had seen "two male juveniles ... running from her yard," Grubbs reported.

Grubbs patrolled the neighborhood and found a group of five young men on 7th Avenue. One of them was carrying a bundled-up gray sweatshirt, which he set down carefully. Inside the bundle, Grubbs found a small longhaired dog. Grubbs wrote that the dog was "covered in blood and in an unresponsive state; it had multiple visible injuries to its body."

Once the dog was identified by its owner, all five juveniles were taken to Police headquarters for questioning in the presence of their parents and/or guardians.

Two of the juveniles implicated the other three, saying they were the ones who took the dog to the field behind Summit Apartments and struck it "multiple times on the head and body," Grubbs reported. The other three and their parents "refused to talk to law enforcement."

Meanwhile, the dog's owner took it to the Animal Emergency Clinic in Columbia where the veterinarian diagnosed blunt force trauma to the head so severe that the right eye was out of the socket, five broken ribs, and internal bruising and swelling. The dog died shortly after arriving at the clinic, and when the juveniles were informed of this one of them, "smiled and giggled in a sadistic manner," Grubbs wrote.

Three of the juveniles were sent home on house arrest by Juvenile Court Judge Steve Bowden.

Later the same day, as Grubbs was cleaning out his patrol car at the end of his shift, he found a "homemade metal striking weapon" in the back seat. Grubbs reported that the weapon had "blood and brown hair in the striking part of the weapon."

Sawyers visited the two youths who had not been charged for a follow-up statement on Saturday. In the presence of his guardian, one teen admitted that he had been intimidated by the presence of the other boys, and had not told whole truth.

That boy then said "all three ... hit the dog repeatedly with the homemade weapon in the field behind Summit Apartments," Grubbs reported.

His statement was corroborated by the second youth, also in the presence of his guardian.

By order of Judge Bowden, the three boys who had been placed under house arrest were taken into custody and transported to the Bedford County Juvenile Detention Center, pending a court appearance Tuesday.