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Police say W.Va. man charged with killing dog

March 24, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Gerrardstown, W.Va., man was charged Wednesday with a felony count of animal cruelty in connection with an incident in which a dog was killed with a pickax and buried, according to court records.

Kenneth James Watkins, 22, of 20803 Cheyenne's Trail, is charged with killing the 11-year-old border collie because he did not like its name, Felony, police alleged in documents filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Deputy Terry S. Shetley, who investigated the case, said he was dispatched Tuesday to a home on Gerrardstown Road for a report of a dog being killed.

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A woman who lived there - Watkins' aunt - said that her nephew told her he killed the dog because of its name. She said he was then kicked out of the house and had walked away, records state.

"I spoke with the brother of the defendant and he advised that he had heard his brother tell his mother that he had killed the dog because the dog's name was Felony and he had just been charged with a felony," Shetley wrote in his two-page criminal complaint. "The brother further advised that he had found a sign over freshly disturbed dirt in the back yard that read 'Don't Kill No More Dogs.'"

Shetley and another deputy found the black and white dog buried, with fresh wounds. Its body was still warm, Shetley said.

While deputies were at the house, they learned that Watkins' mother had picked him up and was bringing him back to the house, police said.

After police stopped the car near the house, Watkins got out and had fresh blood stains on his jeans, records allege.

Another witness told police that when he arrived home, Watkins was standing in the driveway and said he'd just killed Felony, records state.

That witness said that Watkins told him he first hit the dog in the back, and then hit her again in the eye after the dog started biting the ax's handle, records state.

On Feb. 17, Watkins was charged with a felony count of grand larceny in connection with the theft of a pickup truck, records state.

He was released on bail Feb. 25, records state.

Watkins was being held Wednesday night in Eastern Regional Jail on $20,000 bail.

Conviction on a charge of felony animal cruelty carries a sentence of one to 10 years in prison.

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