LIMA — Charges have been filed with the city prosecutor accusing a man of killing a dog on Friday by beating it to death with his bare hands until its head caved.
Julie Shellhammer, the Allen County dog warden, said she officially filed the charges of animal cruelty Tuesday with the city prosecutor.
Nicole Smith, the assistant city prosecutor who is handling the case, confirmed the charges, but refused to discuss any details about the case or release the name of the man charged until an arraignment has been scheduled. Smith said an arraignment had not yet been scheduled.
Shellhammer said she also could not comment further on the case, including giving the charged man’s name.
The investigation began Friday after a woman, whose name was not being released, brought the dog to the Allen County Humane Society in her car after she had a fight with her husband.
Alicia Phillips, operations manager for the Allen County Humane Society, originally saw the battered dog Friday afternoon, when she was filling in as a veterinarian’s technician, something she said she usually does.
“I had a volunteer come to me who out was walking dogs and he said someone was out in the parking lot with a dead dog they wanted me to read the microchip on,” she said Wednesday. “I assumed that it was a dog that had been hit in an accident or something, so I got our microchip reader and went out there.”
Phillips said a woman was frantically crying out by her car. But Phillips said she wasn’t prepared for what she was about to see.
“She popped open the trunk and inside was a dog, it looked like a schnauzer-type dog, though it was hard to tell what it was exactly, and there was blood that was freshly seeping from its head and body.”
The injuries were severe, Phillips said.
“The front of the face that I could see was severely swollen beyond recognition and the side that it was laying on, when I moved the dog, the entire other side of the face was clearly shattered and smashed,” she said. “As far as body injuries, I couldn’t really tell. I could see swelling, but I made the assumption that it was pretty broken up. I couldn’t tell you exactly what kind of dog it was to begin with. The swelling on the one side was severe. The snout was swollen, the teeth and eyes were bloody, but the other side of the face, the bones looked like they were definitely shattered.”
She said the woman told her that her husband had killed it. Phillips said she thought she meant that he had accidentally hit it with his car, but she was mistaken.
“I thought the injuries were so bad, I initially thought it had to be a car accident,” Phillips said. “So I started questioning her about what happened because she said it was her dog. And she said, ‘My husband killed it.’
“I was waiting for her to tell me that he hit it with the car on accident or something and she proceeded to say that he had gotten angry with her and beat the dog to death because it was her dog,” she said.
Phillips said that the woman’s sister witnessed the entire event and came with the woman to the Humane Society.
“It’s my understanding that the autopsy did show me that there was considerable injury to the face,” Phillips said. “I questioned her as to what he used to beat the dog with and she said his bare hands. I was disgusted.”
From there, Phillips said she called Shellhammer right away. Phillips said the woman told her she attempted to call police right away, who referred her to the dog warden’s office and after she attempted to call the dog warden’s office several times with no immediate response, the woman decided to take the dog to the Humane Society in an attempt to save the dog.
Phillips said the dog was dead when it got to the Humane Society.
“This is the worst case of hands-on abuse I have ever seen,” she said. “I did question her to make sure she was going to press the appropriate charges and I basically told her that this was unforgivable and that she was probably next if she didn’t get out.”
Deb Helser, who has a dog rescue shelter called Deb’s Dogs in Lima, was at the dog warden’s office when the woman came to them next. She said she was inside eating a mini-Thanksgiving meal with some of the staff when the woman arrived.
“I did not know what it was about at that point,” Helser said. “They were horrified, absolutely horrified.”
Smith said she is not sure when the arraignment will be scheduled or when the man’s name will be released.
“Any court appearances that he makes, we are going to be there,” she said. “We’re not going to let this go.”