Men accused of animal abuse tell their story - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Men accused of animal abuse tell their story

BOLLINGER COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

A case of abuse, or a dog attack? Either way, it captured the attention of a county and started a public outcry for justice for a burned pitbull.

It started in October when someone found the animal on County Road 318 in Bollinger County. At first, it looked like the dog had been tortured, dragged, and burned alive. But, authorities say recent forensics tests show otherwise.

Now, the two men accused in connection with the case tell their side of the story while investigators offer new details.

"They put a name on me, and I don't appreciate it," said Levi Snider.

Snider faces misdemeanor animal abuse charges. He says it all started when the dog attacked him while he was deer hunting.

Snider is charged with animal abuse for having allegedly killed an animal under circumstances not allowed by law. 

"When I tried to run the dog off, it turned and started to attack me. I had no choice but to shoot the dog," said Snider. "I've had animals my whole life, I did not want to have to do that."

Neighbor Travis Reed says he and another witness watched the whole thing.

"I saw it," said Reed.

At first they were going to leave the dog at the edge of their properties, but that was before they say threats came from the dog's owner.  A man, they say lived nearby, and told them he was dying of cancer.  They say they were very familiar with him but did not know his name.

"Me and Levi got scared," said Reed, who said he encountered the man with a gun. He said he feared for his wife and children.

"I mean what else are you going to do if a man shows up at your door and says I am going to kill you."

Taking the threats seriously, the two disposed of the animal. Reed says he was taught burning was the proper way, so he did. He says he drug it out toward County Road 318 in the middle of the night.

Reed says it was never tied to a post. From there came the discovery of the body, and the headlines: A dog's body found, possibly tortured, dragged, and burned alive.

Reed is charged with littering with a carcass.

"From what I read in the paper yes it sounded horrible," said Reed. "I would react the same way if that was what actually happened."

A few days later, Reed and Snider met with deputies. The dog was sent to Cornell University for testing.

Cornell's report, according to Sheriff Leo McElrath, showed a cause of death could not be determined. However, McElrath said the report showed no evidence of torture to a live animal.

"If it had the charges would have been more severe," said McElrath.

Both men were charged with a misdemeanor.

"I feel like that was just to make the community happy," said Snider in regards to the charges.

Snider says he felt it was legal and justified to shoot, but Sheriff McElrath tells Heartland News Snider never shared the story of the attack.  McElrath says the men did report the threats from the apparent owner who has since passed away.

"I think they should've made a statement that the boy killed the dog because it was aggressive and due to the fact the neighbor was threatening them they did away with the body the only way they knew how," said Terry Snider, Levi's father. "I think this community owes these boys an apology."

Reed and Snider say they want an apology from local authorities because they feel there was misinformation put out to the public.

Reed is relocating his family. Meanwhile, Snider is also leaving the community. They say the threats have been too intense.

Sheriff McElrath says the departments involved followed the investigation properly. He feels the charges are just.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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