DALLAS - A Dallas Animal Services officer was arrested after being accused of animal cruelty.
Officer Eric Pogue, 53, was arrested Wednesday. The city said he had been under investigation for “failure to follow procedure” and “violence against an animal.”
A 4-week old kitten taken to Dallas Animal Services on April 25 never made it through the intake process.
Witnesses told SPCA of Texas investigators that Pogue was holding the kitten when it appeared to bite him. The arrest affidavit says he slammed the kitten "violently to the floor, causing a loud horrifying sound."
"It's deeply concerning that anyone would do this to any animal,” said SPCA of Texas Spokesperson Maura Davies. “Fact that this is a person charged with protecting animals is difficult for me to see.”
According to the affidavit, there is surveillance video of the crime. An SPCA investigator who reviewed the video says after Pogue was bitten, he "threw himself on the floor and against the wall shaking his hand as if he was injured."
Eric Pogue's father, Melvin, said he does not believe his son would purposely harm a kitten.
“It's not that he threw it deliberately,” Melvin said. “He threw the kitten down because the kitten bit him. I think anybody would do that.”
The investigation has been developing for three weeks.
Animal Commissioner Stephanie Timko is concerned about any delays that could harm the case.
“As time goes by, witnesses forget details, their statements aren't taken, evidence can decay,” Timko said. “Like in the case of this cat, there should have been a necropsy to determine the actual cause of death.”
The kitten suffered severe head trauma and had to be euthanized. Pogue was placed on administrative leave while the SPCA of Texas investigated the case.
“Dallas Animal Services strives to provide quality service to all residents of Dallas and humane care for the approximately 32,000 animals that enter our facility each year. Cruelty of any type is not tolerated,” the city said.
Dallas Animal Services did not report the alleged cruelty incident for more than a week. Dallas Animal Services Director Ed Jamison said it was because there were some initial “reporting inaccuracies.” But once they figured out what happened, they immediately notified authorities.
Pogue is now charged with cruelty to non-livestock animals, which is a third-degree felony. He has since been released on bond. If convicted, he faces 2 to 10 years in prison.