The following is a press release from Bollinger County Prosecutor Stephen P. Gray.
On October, 22, 2011, a citizen reported to the Bollinger County Sheriff's Department a pit bull dog carcass being found in a field near CR318. Initial reports of the discovery as portrayed in the media described a dog being tortured, dragged by a truck, tied to a post and set on fire, possibly while alive.
A member of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Kyle Held, a veteran law enforcement officer who works exclusively with animal neglect and abuse cases, offered assistance. A pathology examination could be completed by veterinary pathologists and a report could be made to fully assess this case, with the cost being funded by the ASPCA. Sheriff Leo McElrath, III, and the Prosecuting Attorney Stephen P. Gray agreed to the procedure and would await the results. The carcass was exhumed and submitted to the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University.
The Sheriff's Department documented the scene of the incident and questioned several people. One individual admitted to having killed the dog. Levi Snider stated that he had shot the dog due to its being aggressive toward him on his property and that it had been interfering with his archery deer hunting. He denied any other maltreatment of the animal. Another individual, Travis Reed, admitted involvement in the disposal of the dead animal. Reed stated that he heard the shots fired by Snider a week earlier, on or about October 18 or 19. The carcass was on or near Reed's property. Reed stated that Snider came by to talk with him about getting rid of the dog.
As Snider and Reed spoke about the situation, they were overheard by a satellite internet installer, Raymond Silvey. Silvey recalled hearing gunshots and believed they came from the direction of the pond on the property. Silvey confirmed that Snider approached and told Reed he had shot the dog, and that Reed told Snider he would attempt to dispose of the carcass by burning it on his land by the pond. Silvey reported seeing Reed and Snider building a brush fire on the other side of the pond but did not see the dog at that time.
Reed and Snider stated they both had received threats from the dog's owner in case they had been involved with the animal's disappearance. Reed attempted to burn the carcass in a brush pile with the aid of gasoline, but he was not able to get the remains consumed in the fire. He then tied a nylon rope to the carcass and dragged it away on the county road for approximately 2 miles and left it in a field. He looped the free end of the rope over a fence post and left the carcass where it lay, several feet from the fence. The dog was not strapped to the fence post by the rope, which is evident from the photographs taken at the scene.
Further, Reed did not attempt to burn the carcass where he left it, as there was no burned vegetation around or under the carcass, and no burn damage to the nylon rope around the neck. Snider and Reed gave written statements, but their names were withheld until such time as they would be charged in court.
Final reports of the examination were made available on January 23, 2012. The cause of death could not be determined for various reasons, including the decomposition of the remains. No bullet or bullet fragments were found with the remains. There was no evidence of torture or mutilation to a live animal in this case.
Levi William Snider, 24, of Marble Hill and Travis Reed, 28, of Marble Hill, are charged with misdemeanor offenses related to the death and disposal of the dog. Snider is charged with animal abuse for having allegedly killed an animal under circumstances not allowed by law. Section 578.012 RSMo. Reed is charged with the offense of Littering with a carcass, for having improperly disposed of the carcass by allegedly placing it upon premises not his own. Section 577.076.2 RSMo. The defendants are presumed innocent until their guilt is determined in a court of law.
OFFICE OF PROSECUTING ATTORNEY
Stephen P. Gray