Man, Dog Owners Charged After Dog Was Stabbed: Prosecutor

The fatal stabbing of a dog in Stafford County, Virginia, has resulted in charges for both the man who killed the dog and its owners. 

Richard Rowe was walking his dog in front of Nathan and Rachel Brenke's home on May 1 when their dog, Archer, jumped the fence, the Stafford County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office says. 

Rowe told police that Archer started lunging and trying to bite him and his dog. To defend himself, Rowe said he stabbed the dog.

The Brenkes' attorney disputed the location of the stabbing, saying Rowe was walking on an asphalt path behind their house as Archer played in the backyard with four of the couple's children — ages 3, 4, 5 and 8. Archer ran to the front of the house after the stabbing and bled to death despite life-saving efforts by neighbors, the attorney said.

In addition to the fence Archer jumped, the Brenkes have an invisible fence, and they say Archer's shock collar activated, according to their attorney.

Rowe has been charged with animal cruelty, but prosecutors have also filed charges against Archer's owners. 

According to the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Archer had a history of aggressive behavior prior to the incident on May 1, and the Brenkes knew about those incidents. 

The Brenkes' attorney also denies Archer had an aggressive history and said he "was beloved in the neighborhood."

The Brenkes have been charged with destructive or annoying dog running at large, a Class 4 misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $250.

The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office says a judge will determine whether Rowe's claim of self-defense has merit based on the evidence presented at trial.

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