A 54-year-old, eight-time convicted felon from Michigan was arrested and charged with animal cruelty for allegedly beating a dog with a bat multiple times and shooting it in the head with a pellet gun, Battle Creek police say. David Hursley was arraigned on Wednesday in Calhoun County District Court. He’s charged with the four-year felony of killing or torturing an animal as well as a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals. The misdemeanor charge carries a 93-day maximum sentence. David Hursley is charged as a habitual offender, though, so if he is convicted of the animal cruelty charge, he could spend 15 years in prison.
In addition to the eight prior felonies, Magistrate David Heiss said David Hursley also has 20 misdemeanors on record.
The charges come after police were called to Bennett Street in Battle Creek Michigan at 8:37 Tuesday evening as Michigan faced inclement winter weather. Police were called to investigate a call-in about shots fired in the area. When the officers arrived, they found a 2- to 3-year-old Husky mix dog severely injured, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Max Penalty For David Hursley!Bludgeoned His Dog With A Baseball Bat & Shot Him In The Head!https://t.co/NDHi5elxB4 pic.twitter.com/dWAm18tLPz
— PetitionHub.org (@PetitionHub) February 11, 2016
Hursley told the Battle Creek officers that he and another man were just sitting on the couch and petting the dog, when the dog suddenly bit the other man on the hand. David Hursley told police that the dog has been aggressive toward him and other people in the past. Hursley says that after the Husky-mix bit the other man on the hand, he grabbed an aluminum baseball bat and struck the dog with it several times in an attempt to get the dog away from the other man. David Hursley reportedly told the police that the injured dog stopped being aggressive after he was beaten with the baseball bat. Hursley told police that after that, he grabbed a pellet gun and shot the dog in the head once. He says he tried to shoot him again with the pellet gun but missed.
The dog was left outside in the cold on the back porch. When police arrived, the dog was on the porch severely injured but alive. Sgt. Todd Elliott said that Battle Creek police officers believe that the Husky had been beaten between five and 10 times by David Hursley with the baseball bat, according to WZZM News.
Police say blood was found throughout the entire house. The dog was severely injured and suffering. The Battle Creek officers on the scene said there was little chance that the dog would have survived and made the difficult decision to shoot the dog while on the scene to spare it suffering. Had they waited, the officers knew that the dog would have continued to suffer extensively, because it would have had to wait to be relieved of its suffering by a veterinarian.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Battle Creek Police Department said the dog appeared to be extremely distressed from being beaten with the baseball bat and shot in the head with a pellet gun at close range. The officers decided the only humane option was to end the dogs life swiftly on the scene rather than cause it to endure longer suffering before being put down.
— Jane Doe Ⓥ (@_Heidi_13) February 10, 2016
“A lot of police officers are animal lovers ourselves,” Major Jim Grafton said in the Battle Creek Police Department’s release. “It hurts us to put an animal down.”
On Facebook, Abe Salinas claimed the Husky had no history of aggression.
“The dog’s name is Obi, and my brother was the owner of it. He was away for a while and David volunteered to dog sit for him. For the 3 years that I have had Obi, he has never bitten or been aggressive towards anyone. He was the most loving dog I have ever seen. I know David is lying about what happened because my dog, or any dog, would bite someone for no reason. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. It is clear that with all the felonies and misdemeanors he has that he is capable of doing such a thing. Also, I can grantee that when this happened David and his friend were drinking. He was taken off of probation months ago and ever since he was off, he drank everyday.”
For David Hursley’s case, a necropsy will be conducted. This will determine the extent of the wounds so that the prosecution can use that information in Hursley’s trial.
[Image via Calhoon County]