An 11-year-old boy from Fort Worth, Texas, is accused of fatally bashing the skull of a neighbor’s dog with a stick.
A 15-pound Cavalier King Charles spaniel mix named Cookie was found slumped on a neighbor’s porch, dead, with his skull crushed, NBC 5 reported.
“He was the sweetest thing,” Jennifer Knittel, Cookie’s owner, told USA Today. “He would never hurt anyone. You could pull his tail and nothing.”
Knittel received the unfortunate news on May 11 from a neighbor and police officers. Knittel said the neighbor “was in tears.”
The neighbor told Fort Worth police and Knittel that she had seen the boy trying to kick two dogs under a truck while she was driving through the neighborhood. When she returned, the woman saw one of the dogs slumped on someone’s porch.
“The boy was walking away from the front porch with this big stick in his hand,” Knittel said the woman told her.
"She stopped the boy and she said, 'Did you hurt that dog?' And he said, 'No, that dog is sleeping,'" Knittel told NBC 5.
Police later confirmed that the 11-year-old is a suspect in the beating, but are still investigating.
Knittel believes the boy unlatched the gate to her backyard and chased Cookie and another family dog, Sam, out before beating Cookie with the large stick. Knittel was at work at the time of the incident.
“The stick came from our yard. The dogs were in the yard,” said Knittel. “Police went and talked with the boy’s family. They said Cookie attacked.”
But Knittel doesn’t believe that.
The boy’s father told USA Today they are cooperating with the investigation, but that the dog attacked his son.
“Cookie’s eyes were open and his tongue was hanging out,” said Knittel, adding that animal control informed her on May 12 that the dog died as a result of a fractured skull and a severed spine caused by several blows to the body.
"Your pet is a family member, so everyone's upset and gives condolences when your pet passes away, but not when something like this happens. This makes it completely different,” she said.
Knittel said she hoped someone is held responsible and she doesn’t care about the alleged assailant’s age.
"When you're 11, you do know the difference," she said. "You know that isn't right."
Animal cruelty is a felony under Texas law. On May 13, police said they will file animal cruelty charges against the boy.