A bizarre and heartbreaking dog abuse case out of Jefferson, West Virginia has resulted in the death of one dog and police with absolutely no clear answers. Did a dog suffer due to a tragic accident or did someone intentionally mutilate and abuse him?
Jessica Bennett stepped outside of her home last week and found a trail of blood on her porch. She followed the trail along the porch, down the steps, and to a hole beneath the home where she found her 2-year old dog barely clinging to life.
Bennett’s fiance, Terrell Harris, told police he was inside his home playing video games when his dog’s front paws somehow became severed, leaving the dog in severe pain, bleeding profusely, and most likely in shock. A WCHS TV interview with Terrell Harris leaves even more questions unanswered:
The dog, Malakai, had to be euthanized after veterinarians found that he’d lost too much blood to survive. Examination by several veterinarians had investigators questioning whether Malakai had lost both front paws in a tragic accident with a nearby passing train or if the dog had been intentionally and maliciously disfigured.
Investigators have questioned several persons of interest in the case, including making several visits to the Harris home to question the owners.
“There are a lot of people we’ve considered persons of interest. There are a lot of things that don’t seem to add up. Some inconsistencies,” Sgt. Brian Humphreys, with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office told WCHS.
For instance, police don’t understand how a dog, in severe pain, bleeding profusely, and with no front paws, managed to walk from the train tracks back home and climb the steps onto the Harris’ front porch before leaving a trail of blood to the spot beneath the home. Or, how is it that no one heard Malakai’s cries as he was being hurt?
Additional injuries to the dog, including lacerations to his front paws and to his face don’t provide a clear answer as to what happened to this poor dog.
Although Harris passed a police administered lie detector test, he remains the prime suspect in the unsolved case. Police located evidence that indicates Malakai was most likely injured after being struck by a train, but have not ruled out speculation that he was somehow incapacitated and intentionally left on the tracks.
Accusations by concerned neighbors of Harris’ history of violence against people and animals, investigations into child neglect by the family, coupled with reports of residents nearby bragging about committing the act have only further complicated the case.
When police entered the home during their investigation, they found troubling evidence of child neglect and removed Bennett’s children from the home.
“This is still an open case,” Sgt. Brian Humphreys of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office told the WV Gazette. “There are still some pieces of information we’d like to have before we can possibly think of closing it.”
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. Food Network star and West Virginia native Katie Lee has matched that amount, and another contributor added to the amount as well, bringing the total reward for information in the case to $15,000.
Anyone with information is asked to call 304-357-0169 or submit a tip to www.kanawhasheriff.us.