BLUEWELL — Two Mercer County men were arrested Thursday afternoon after one bludgeoned a puppy to death with a log in view of an elementary school, officials said.
The incident occurred around 2 p.m. in a yard beside Kinser Apartments in Bluewell.
John Michael Wimmer, 25, and Justin McKinley Mitchelson, 31, both residents of the apartment complex, were charged with felony animal cruelty, Senior Trooper D.B. Whited, with the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment, said.
Wimmer admittedly killed the puppy in declarations given at the crime scene. He is the cousin of Mitchelson, the owner of the dog. The men claimed the puppy was sick, and needed to be put out of its misery.
Authorities were alerted to the incident when the parent of a Bluewell Elementary School student called 911 to report the abuse. The parent was at the school to pick up her child from the day’s classes.
At the scene shortly after 2 p.m., Mercer County Animal Control Officer Kallie Conley was seen picking up the puppy’s bloody and beaten body and carrying it to a vehicle.
Conley and Animal Control Officer Elizabeth Syres then wrapped the pup in a blanket before placing it in a metal crate.
The Animal Control officers and West Virginia State Police troopers on scene were solemn as Wimmer loudly proclaimed that he had no other option. He said the puppy “drank Lysol, and had laid in the floor for hours.”
Mitchelson was quiet as his cousin, Wimmer, was handcuffed by Mercer County Deputy L.L. Adair.
Shortly thereafter Mitchelson, too, was patted down, placed in cuffs and put in the back of a State Police cruiser.
Trooper Whited said he was alerted to the incident by the 911 call.
“When I first arrived on the scene the owner (Mitchelson) came out and said the dog had gotten into Lysol and gotten sick and he didn’t know what do to,” Whited said.
The 911 call came from a parent who was picking up her child at Bluewell Elementary — a school in full view of the yard where the incident took place.
Whited said Wimmer put the puppy on a stump and beat it to death with a log.
“He sat the puppy up there … and struck the puppy until it was deceased,” Whited said.
Wimmer said he struck the puppy three times, Whited said, noting, “The witness said it was more than that.”
Whited said Wimmer later told him he used a log the size of a “pop can” in diameter to kill the dog. Animal Control officers said the puppy was no more than 8 weeks old, and weighed no more than 5 pounds.
Whited said Mitchelson told him he had not named the puppy, however Wimmer said he called the dog Athena.
Felony animal cruelty carries a penalty of one to five years in prison.
In addition to the cruelty charge, Mitchelson is also charged with providing false information to the State Police. Whited said he gave a false name when originally asked who had killed the puppy.
Assisting in the animal cruelty investigation were State Police Cpl. P.H. Shrewsbury, Cpl. A.S. Reed, and Deputy Adair.
In addition to the animal cruelty charges, Whited said Wimmer also had active warrants stemming from a Wednesday night vehicle accident in the Oakvale Road/Route 460 area in Princeton. Those charges included Permitting Driving Under the Influence, Obstruction and Disorderly Conduct. Trooper R. L. Jones is the investigator on the accident case.
— Contact Samantha Perry at email@example.com