Dog gutted, left hanging from bridge, affidavit says
A teenager is accused of mutilating a dog and hanging its carcass from the pedestrian bridge over the Colorado River near Eagle Rim Park, according to an arrest affidavit.
Joseph Nelson, 18, was being held Wednesday at the Mesa County Jail on $3,000 bond on suspicion of aggravated cruelty to animals, criminal mischief and being a minor in possession of alcohol. The charges stemmed from the death of his mother’s dog, a 3-year-old mix named De Mayo, in August.
Nelson, who turned 18 on Oct. 23, was arrested Tuesday at the Grand Junction Police Department when he showed up at the department for an interview about the incident, police spokeswoman Kate Porras said.
A passerby around 6:25 a.m. on Aug. 15 discovered the dog hanging by a nylon leash from the bridge, the affidavit said. Blood was smeared on the concrete close to the dog, whose internal organs were exposed by a suspected knife laceration along the abdomen. An eyeball was missing, the affidavit said.
An officer recalled Nelson and another boy were contacted around 11:35 p.m. the night before, on Aug. 14, by officers responding to a shots fired call in the 1000 block of Santa Clara Avenue, the affidavit said. The boys had blood on their hands and clothes, while both had pocket knives with blood on them. They explained they cut themselves while opening a bottle and were let go.
Officers on Sept. 20 tracked down the boy who was with Nelson. The boy told officers he and Nelson had been drinking the night of Aug. 14.
Nelson “became extremely angry and agitated because he was contacted by police,” the affidavit said. The boy said they went to the home of Nelson’s mother, where Nelson broke out windows on several cars. Nelson walked inside the home and started hitting the dog, then put a leash on it and took it to the backyard, the boy told police.
“Nelson was still in a fit of rage and began swinging the dog on the dog leash, causing the dog to be hit against a shed,” the affidavit said.
The boy said he watched this happen 10 to 12 times until Nelson stopped when he got tired. The dog was kicked numerous times. The boy said Nelson picked up a bicycle and threw it on the dog.
“(Boy) told me Nelson’s actions severely upset him, and he tried stopping Nelson when he was swinging the dog, but Nelson grew angry at him and started pushing and kicking him in the ribs,” the affidavit said.
Nelson’s mother told police her son was heavily involved with methamphetamine use and said she didn’t know where he stays.
The roughly 20-pound dog was a breed combination of miniature pinscher, Jack Russell terrier and Chi-weenie and was worth about $100, the woman told officers.
Among conditions for posting bond, Nelson will be subject to random alcohol and drug testing by Mesa County Pretrial Services, according to court records.