Bail was set at $50,000 for a man accused of sexually assaulting and killing a pit bull in Thurston County.
James Leroy Evans, 33, appeared Monday in Thurston County Superior Court on one count of first-degree animal cruelty. Arraignment was set for April 26.
Evans was arrested Saturday in Grays Harbor County based on a tip from a relative of the dog’s owner.
The 3-year-old pit bull mix named Diamond was discovered hanging from a tree March 21 on Department of Natural Resources property near Summit Lake. The dog’s toes were just barely touching the ground, and her front legs were clutching the tree trunk, according to documents.
A veterinary necropsy showed that the dog died from asphyxiation, and that there was evidence of severe trauma to the dog’s anus and rectum.
A handful of animal advocates attended Monday’s court hearing, devastated at the thought of how the dog suffered. Thurston County animal control officer Erika Johnson said a DNA test is underway to determine more details about the suspect’s assault of the dog and whether the county will pursue a bestiality charge.
Johnson said it is unclear whether the suspect had sex with the dog or sodomized the dog with an object.
“This is probably one of the worst ever cases that I’ve ever seen,” Johnson told The Olympian. “The degree of violence that animal went through before her death, I really couldn’t wrap my mind around it.”
The mother of the dog’s owner told police that Evans admitted to killing Diamond because he said the dog killed his pet iguana. In an interview with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Evans confessed to killing the dog and said “I did it! I hung her,” according to court documents.
According to animal services, Diamond had been staying with Evans at the time of her death and had been a therapy dog for the owner’s 8-year-old son.
In the weeks since Diamond was found dead, animal services investigators had been calling her “Justice” and a reward of $25,000 was offered for any information leading to a suspect.