Virginia Man Beat, Fatally Shot Dog That Bit Toddler: Animal Services

A Virginia man is facing charges after the alleged assault and shooting death of his dog.

A man allegedly beat and fatally shot a dog after it bit a 19-month-old toddler in Virginia, according to Loudoun County Animal Services.

Animal Services began the investigation Jan. 17 after requesting rabies testing on the dog to ensure the toddler was not exposed after the bite at 28-year-old Thomas M. Hockett's Purcellville home.

The dog tested negative for rabies, but a veterinarian and animal control officer saw evidence of excessive use of a firearm and lacerations after inspecting the dog’s body, Animal Services said. A necropsy also showed proof of trauma and bruising to internal organs that occurred before the shooting.

“Virginia law allows animal owners to use a firearm as a means to humanely destroy their dog, but death must be immediate,” said Chief Animal Services Officer Mark Stacks. “Our focus in this investigation was whether the dog experienced any undue pain or suffering.”

Hockett faces a felony animal cruelty charge. He could face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 if convicted. He was released on $2,500 bond and is expected to appear in Loudoun General District Court Friday.

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