ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Deputies with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office have arrested a Zavalla man accused of leaving his dog in the heat and burning it after it died to avoid allowing investigators to order a necropsy.
Dennis Gregory Dodson II, 48, is charged with cruelty to animals and tampering with evidence.
According to an arrest affidavit, a deputy spoke with someone on July 25 and was told that a dog was tied up in a back yard and did not have water to drink and was left directly in the sun. The witness called back later that day and said it appeared the dog was dead.
An animal control officer then came to the scene and spoke to Dodson. According to the affidavit, the officer found the dead dog and a short leash which was wrapped around what appeared to be an axle and there was no water in the area which the dog could reach.
Dodson said that the previous night, he had left town with the dog inside the home. When he returned home, he said the dog had chewed and damaged items in the home and appeared to begin having problems breathing. He said he then took the dog outside and tied him to the fence so his children could not see the dog die in front of them, according to the affidavit.
The officer asked Dodson if they would allow her to take the dog's body and have a necropsy performed to find out how the dog died and Dodson "told me no because it showed if it showed the dog died from the heat he would be in trouble," according to the affidavit.
The officer then left the home to get a search warrant. She said she then learned Dodson burned the dog in an attempt to keep the officer from determining the cause of death, according to the affidavit.
The officer reported finding a neighbor who had video surveillance of the entire incident. According to the affidavit, the video showed Dodson attaching the dog to a fence with no food, water or shelter on July 24. On July 25, it shows a child bring a bucket with water and place it near the dog, but the dog knocked the bucket over. The video shows the dog later dying that afternoon.
According to the affidavit, the heat index at the time of the dog's death was at 105 degrees.
On July 28, a witness provided a written statement saying Dodson put the dog on fire and burned it while saying, "now they can't test it now" and that he later asked the witness "how she like her dog, medium or well done."
Dodson was arrested on the charges on Friday and posted a collective $7,500 bail.