A Maine man is accused of threatening his girlfriend by having sex with a dog and killing it.
Thomas Wentworth, 55, reportedly sexually abused his 12-year-old black Labrador retriever and then killed the dog by placing a black bag over its head. His girlfriend says the act was a warning and that Wentworth told her he could do the same to her, according to WJLA.
In a handwritten statement, the ex-girlfriend says she watched Wentworth have sex with the dog, Missy, according to court documents. He later told her that he killed the dog.
"He told me that he put Ether in a trash bag, put over his dog's head til she died, then used the backhoe to get rid of her," she wrote. "And also he told me he can do the same to me."
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Wentworth maintains his innocence and says his ex-girlfriend fabricated the story.
"I absolutely did not have sex with that dog," he said.
He did admit to killing Missy, but he says that it was out of mercy, as the dog was blind and in pain.
"It was only for mercy," he said. "It was because the poor thing was in such pain and couldn't lay down without howling."
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Animal welfare advocates have called the allegations "horrific."
"There really aren't words to describe, as an animal lover, the pain you feel when you have found out that an animal has been treated so horribly," said Katie Hansberry, Maine senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States.
Hansberry also mentioned the well-documented link between animal abuse and violence against humans.
"The FBI has recognized that and is tracking animal cruelty at the same level they're tracking crimes such as murder and arson, so it's a very serious issue," she said.
The HSUS says a number of studies have drawn links between the abuse of animals and violence against people, according to its website.
Wentworth maintains that he is an animal lover, and says he spent the past two decades rescuing cats and birds' nests from trees, WJLA reports. He also says he was incredibly attached to Missy, who would often accompany him on hunting trips.
"That thing was my pet," he said. "I loved the thing."
Authorities discovered the incident when investigating a domestic disturbance at Wentworth's home in December. Wentworth has a reported history of domestic violence.
Police have charged Wentworth with domestic assault, terrorizing, stalking and cruelty to animals. He is scheduled to appear in court by June 5 at the latest.