Austin C. Easterday, 26, of Woodburn was charged Friday with torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal. He was released Friday on his own recognizance, according to Steve Stone, public information officer for the Allen County Sheriff’s Department.
Easterday admitted to his girlfriend that he “may have been a little too rough” with their pup, Sampson, after the dog peed on the floor. Court documents did not identify the dog’s breed.
Easterday’s girlfriend said on October 30 that she went to get food for Easter and a relative. When she got home, Sampson was in the tub and Easterday was trying to stop the bleeding. That’s when she thought he had mentioned being too hard on the dog.
A witness said Easterday picked up Sampson “by the skin on the back of his neck and his back near his hind legs, down to his chest. He threw the dog to the ground where it landed on a toy,” court documents said.
Sampson made noises like he was in pain and when Austin yelled at the dog to get out, Sampson just “sat in place, acting like and making noises like he was hurt,” the witness said.
Then Easterday began kicking Sampson toward the door before dragging the dog out of the house, according to court documents.
The witness noticed that there was blood on some of Easterday’s fingers and thought it was blood from the dog’s wounds.
The couple took the 7-month-old puppy to Northeast Indiana Veterinary Emergency Specialty Hospital on November 1 and apparently asked about the surgery, but then called to pick up the dog, according to court documents.
The hospital called the Woodburn Police Department because the owners were “acting strangely” and the dog had a broken leg.
When the Woodburn police officer questioned Easterday in January, Easterday said the dog had urinated on the living room floor. Easterday picked it up and threw it away and he thought the dog “may have hit an ottoman table”. When he took the dog outside, he noticed Sampson was limping, he said. When he noticed the blood on Sampson’s leg, he took the dog upstairs to the bathroom and tried to wash the wound to stop the bleeding, according to court documents.
The next day, when he noticed the dog was no better, his girlfriend took the dog to the emergency vet.
They called the veterinary hospital to pick up the dog “because they found out they couldn’t afford the surgery he needed,” Easterday said.
The girlfriend was interviewed by Dr Jason Matthew at the emergency veterinary hospital. She told him she was not sure why the dog was limping and no, the dog had not been hit by a car. She didn’t think her boyfriend had anything to do with the injury. She appeared to hesitate as she gave her answers, according to court documents.
An hour after Sampson was initially checked into the hospital, Easterday showed up “very angry and demanded to take the dog home against medical advice.”
The hospital was called Animal Care and Control. Christina Fosnaugh, an investigator with the Allen County District Attorney’s Office, wrote in the probable cause affidavit.
Matthew said Sampson had a “displaced femur fracture” and would need surgery. The injuries “corresponded to significant force due to the bone that was broken”, according to court documents.