When it comes to atrocious crimes, this one ranks right up there. Today Orting's Ricky Knowles pleaded guilty to first-degree animal cruelty, a charge stemming from a hatchet attack the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office says the 55-year-old unleashed on a neighbors golden retriever.
Orting police were called to Knowles' home March 20 after a neighbor reported seeing him beating a neighbor's dog with what looked like a hatchet. According to authorities, once they arrived, surrounded the home, and were able to get Knowles outside, they discovered the neighbor's golden retriever, Kona, tied to a pole inside the garage, "bleeding from severe wounds to his head and neck," according to the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office. The dog's owner was subsequently contacted and the golden retriever was rushed to a vet clinic, where multiple fractures were discovered on his head and in his sinus cavity. The dog's eyes were also swollen shut. Miraculously, he survived the attack.
While that's pretty disturbing stuff, the tools authorities say they discovered inside Knowles' garage make things worse.
According to the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office:
In a search of the defendant's garage, officers found several items with blood on them, including a pair of pants, cardboard, a piece of wire with dog hair on it, gloves, a garbage can, and a hammer. Blood spatter was visible on a shed and fire pit. Dog treats were also found; the defendant does not own a dog.
Authorities say Knowles had complained to the neighbor of Kona's barking before, but it's unclear what inspired the attack. The neighbors, who have since moved from the state, were under the impression they had reached an agreement with Knowles regarding their dog's barking.
According to the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office, so far treatment costs for Kona's injuries have run almost $5,000.