Kennewick man faces 2 animal cruelty charges

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldMay 18, 2013 

A Kennewick man accused of killing a dog by kicking it too hard now faces a new charge for allegedly shooting a dog with a BB gun.

Kristopher Quinn O'Neill, 21, was out of custody on the first Benton County Superior Court case when prosecutors say he committed the second crime.

He is being held on $5,000 bail and has two separate cases charges for first-degree animal cruelty.

In the original case, a West Canal Drive woman called police Sept. 20 after she came home to find her dog was dead. The woman and O'Neill were roommates.

O'Neill was holding the dog's collar as he talked to officers and claimed it was an accident. He said the TV fell on top of the dog and must have killed it, court documents said.

A veterinarian examined the dog's body and concluded that it was killed by blunt trauma to its head and neck.

O'Neill was interviewed again and admitted he made up the story about the TV falling, documents said.

He allegedly said that the dog got out of the bathroom and he kicked it with his boot to get it back in the bathroom. O'Neill was charged in that case Feb. 1.

Then on March 1, Kennewick police responded to a report that O'Neill had shot a dog with a pellet gun.

A roommate told officers that she saw O'Neill sitting on the couch with a dog wrapped in a blanket and thought it was odd because in the past she'd seen him throw, kick and choke the dog, court documents said.

The day before she saw O'Neill hold the dog against the wall by the throat and let it hang there, documents said.

The roommate said they heard the dog yelping, and when she examined the dog she found a single puncture wound. She also told officers that she's previously seen O'Neill shoot at other dogs and cats with BB guns, court documents said.

O'Neill claimed the dog was hurt when it got in a fight.

The dog was taken to a vet, who determined the puncture wound could be consistent with a BB gun.

A BB gun was found at O'Neill's home. He told officers in a follow-up interview that he didn't shoot the dog, but admitted to shooting at a mailbox, documents state.

O'Neill's first case is scheduled for trial June 3. He appeared in court recently on the second case, which was continued to Thursday so both cases can be called at the same time.

His attorney, Michelle Alexander, has told the court they potentially may resolve both cases.

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