February 10, 2014

Woman arrested for killing dog

Facing animal cruelty charges

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — It is not without tears that 47-year-old Cynthia Hurley talks about her Jack Russell terrier. But it is with little remorse that she reflects back on Monday’s incident when she allegedly killed a dog that attacked  and killed her own pet.

Now the East Bernstadt resident sits behind bars in the Laurel County Detention Center, charged with first-degree cruelty to animals.

In an interview from jail on Wednesday, Hurley explained why her emotions ran away with her on Monday after finding her pet lying in the yard, dead from an attack from a larger, neighborhood dog.

Although Hurley lives along Ky. 490, she was at her daughter’s residence on Barbourville Road over the weekend and into Monday afternoon due to inclement weather. She said because school was canceled Monday, she stayed to care for her daughter’s children while her daughter was at work.

Hurley describes the larger dog as resembling a Labrador with some similarities of a Golden Retriever. The dog, she said, had been frequenting her daughter’s yard over the past several days and had attacked her Jack Russell on Friday, three days prior to the incident that has her incarcerated.

“That dog just mauled Diamond,” Hurley said.

Hurley said her daughter did not know who the dog belonged to and was unfamiliar with any neighbors who owned the dog.

Hurley said the larger dog attacked Diamond on Friday, leaving a “big knot” on its leg and what Hurley believes was internal injuries, as the dog was passing blood in its excrement’s since that time.

“He couldn’t even eat for two days. I was doctoring him and trying to get him well,” she added.

Hurley said she and her daughter both had tried to contact the animal shelter about the larger dog, but were unable to speak with anyone.

On Monday, Hurley said she put a metal stake in the yard and tied her dog on a chain while she was preparing food for her grandchildren. Hurley said she could see her dog in the yard from the kitchen window where she was peeling potatoes, but her attention was diverted briefly when two children began arguing.

“I looked away, then when I looked out, I couldn’t see my dog,” Hurley said, her eyes tearing up. “I went outside and there it was, dead.”

Hurley said Diamond had bite marks where the Labrador had attacked it. Her emotions ran wild, she said, and she found the Lab and stabbed it with the knife she had been peeling potatoes with.

“I had my dog on a chain, like I’m supposed to do,” she said. “His right leg and back leg were torn open. I keep thinking maybe if I hadn’t had him on a chain, he could have gotten away.”

Arresting officer, Constable Tim May said Hurley’s story conflicted with evidence at the scene.

“She said she chased the dog (Lab) into a field and stabbed it and it ran to the neighbor’s porch and died,” May said. “But neither me or the dog warden saw any blood in the field and no blood leading to the house.”

May believes Hurley followed the dog through the field “three or four houses down” and went onto the porch and “sliced its neck.”

“That dog couldn’t have run that far after she cut it,” May said. “I charged her with first-degree animal abuse, which is a felony, and criminal trespassing.”

According to May, the dog has not been claimed, although it was  being cared for and fed by two different households in the neighborhood.

Hurley awaits a preliminary hearing next week.

“I’m sorry I killed that dog, but I lost my dog too,” she said. “I am in remorse if that dog was a child’s pet, but when I saw my little dog lying there dead, I was really upset.”