Tecumseh man pleads guilty in 2017 dog-torture case
Brandon Patterson, 33, recently pleaded guilty to abuse of an animal, a class E felony, in connection with a May 28, 2017, incident in which Patterson allegedly tortured a dog over a two-day span. A class E felony can carry a sentence of up to four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. However, because the court found that Patterson is a prior and persistent offender, the charge will be sentenced as if it were a class D felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to seven years.
Patterson requested a sentencing advisory report, and a sentencing hearing will be held June 27. Prosecuting Attorney John Garrabrant did not extend a plea offer in this case, so the plea was made as a “stand-up plea,” meaning it is made without any prior arrangement of agreement to punishment. Sentencing will be at the discretion of Circuit Judge Craig Carter. Garrabrant has indicated that the state will argue for Patterson to be imprisoned.
According to the probable cause statement in the case prepared by former Ozark County Deputy Nick Jones, officers were alerted to a report that a man was actively abusing a dog behind a residence on PP Highway in Tecumseh on May 28, 2017. When Jones arrived, he found a small dog locked inside a dog crate that had been placed inside a metal trash can. The dog was lying in the bottom of the crate, unable to move. It was groaning, gasping for air and struggling to breathe, Jones wrote. Patterson, standing nearby, had on wet clothes, and the ground around the trash can was also wet. When approached by the officer, Patterson reportedly said, “I’ve been mean to it. I’m sorry.”
The suspect was detained and read his Miranda rights before being questioned. Patterson reportedly told the officer that the previous evening, on May 27, he put the dog inside the trash can and filled the can with water from a garden hose to the handles, about three-quarters of the way full. Patterson said he made the dog swim inside the trash can continually until it grew tired and could not swim any longer. Then he said he’d dump the water out, let the dog out, then refill and do it again, the statement says. This process went on for somewhere between one and two hours, the statement says.
While the dog was in the trash can, Patterson said he poked the animal, dunked it under the water and made it keep swimming through the whole process. At one point, the dog bit him, Patterson reportedly said. So he used a blow gun instead of his hands to keep the dog swimming and to push it under the water. During part of the torture, Patterson reportedly placed the lid on the trash can and put a cinder block on top, causing the dog to tread the water in complete darkness with very little air space to breathe. Patterson told the officer he had been doing the same thing that day, May 28, when the officer arrived on scene and stopped him.
When Jones asked Patterson why he had did those things, he reportedly told the officer he didn’t know what he was doing, and he lost his thought process and lost control of himself during the act. Witnesses to the incident described the acts as torture and said Patterson was laughing, talking to the dog and taking great joy in what he was doing, the statement says.
The dog was taken to a local veterinarian for analysis. It was running a fever of 104 degrees (a temperature of 101 to 102.5 degrees is considered normal, according to the American Kennel Club website) and had aspiration pneumonia. It was treated with antibiotics and was released to the possession of a family member, Sheriff Darrin Reed told the Times shortly after the incident.