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DECATUR — A Decatur man appeared in Macon County Circuit Court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to an animal after police said he beat his dog and left it urine soaked and lying in a bathtub stained with the animal’s blood.

Dalton C. Skinner, 21, was represented by Chief Public Defender David Ellison and waived a formal preliminary hearing. Judge Phoebe Bowers found there was sufficient grounds to try Skinner on the charge and placed the case on the trial list of Judge Thomas Griffith. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for May 7, and Skinner remains free after posting $4,000 bond.

A sworn affidavit from Decatur police officer Anna Oldham described her finding the dog on the evening of March 13. She had gone to Skinner’s home following up on a report that he was “killing a brindle-colored pit bull inside the residence.”

Oldham said Skinner answered the door with shaking, blood-spattered hands and took the officer through to where the dog lay in the bathtub. The animal had a bleeding wound in its neck and what Oldham described as a “hole” on top of its head.

Skinner said he had “smacked the dog in the head”, hitting the animal while holding “screws and metals” in his hand and these may have caused the wounds, which included a bleeding nose injury and swollen-shut right eye.

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The affidavit does not quote him as offering a reason for hitting the dog. It does quote Skinner as saying he had first aid training and had tied a rope around the dog’s head to hold a blood-soaked pad of paper towels in place to stanch the bleeding.

Oldham arrested Skinner and removed the dog for professional medical assistance. Kris Horton, Chief Warden at the Macon County Animal Control and Care Center, described the dog Wednesday as recovering and “doing very well” under the center’s care.


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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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Macon County Courts Reporter

Macon County courts reporter for the Herald & Review.

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