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Former prosecuting attorney goes over Missouri laws for animal abuse after man mutilates dog as a sacrifice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Sources say a dog is in good condition after the owner mutilated the dog's foot as a "sacrifice."

37-year-old Brandon Harris is charged with a felony count of animal abuse.

The Boone County Prosecutor's Office has charged Brandon Harris, 37, of Columbia, with a felony count of animal abuse. Harris is accused of cutting a dog's paw off.

Former prosecuting attorney Bill Tacket tells says a misdemeanor for animal abuse can cost someone $2,000 dollars in fines but Harris' felony charge could cost him up to $5,000 dollars.

"There's a lot of emotion that goes into someone hurting a defenseless pet. I mean a lot and it's just something that brings out you know a passion in people that is somewhat unparalleled," said Tacket.

Investigators say 37-year-old Brandon Harris called law enforcement two weeks ago and admitted to cutting off his dog's paw as a quote "sacrifice". When Boone County deputies arrived at the suspect's home on the 7300 block of Moberly drive North of Columbia, they discovered the dog's paw in a box.

The dog, known as Bennie had his leg amputated at the shoulder by doctors. Officials say he is now staying in long-term foster care.

This case will make the second alleged dog sacrifice case in Mid-Missouri this month when a Moberly woman was charged for allegedly killing and burning a dog.

Former prosecuting attorney Bill Tacket describes these cases as "disgusting" and explained what charges someone could face for animal abuse.

"They fall into two categories, and one is if you injure or kill an animal like poisoning a neighbor's dog for instance or depriving an animal of food and water, that's a class a misdemeanor up to one year in jail," said Tacket.

The crime jumps to a felony if someone tortures or mutilates the animal while it's alive which can carry a maximum of four years in prison.

In some cases, someone could avoid charges if they can prove it's self-defense but Tackett says if what deputies say is true, it's highly unlikely for this suspect to walk away a free man.

"In the case for torture and mutilation I don't know of a defense that any jury would believe," said Tacket.

Harris currently remains in the Boone County Jail with no bond, Harris has a confined docket hearing set for Wednesday. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 21.

Harris does not have a defense attorney listed according to online court records.

Kennedy Miller

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