Man accused of slitting his dog's throat fails to appear in courtWhile Stavaas didn't make it to his court appearance, animal activists took over the sidewalk in front of the Otter Tail County courthouse, showing support for abused animals and requesting the harshest penalties against their abusers.
Fergus Falls, Minn. (WDAY TV) - The man accused of slitting his own dog's throat and leaving it for dead was a no show at court today and now there's a warrant out for his arrest. This morning would have been the first appearance for 23-year-old Benjamin Stavaas from Battle Lake, who is facing 6 criminal charges, including felony animal cruelty and torture.
While Stavaas didn't show to his hearing, a few family members did. They say Stavaas has a history of anger issues.
“I know he had something that happened in Wadena with his girlfriend. I don't know exactly what that was and he does have anger issues, it's because of what's happened in his life and he needs to deal with those.”
Stavaas faces up to $18-thousand dollars in fines and more than 6 years of jail if convicted on all six charges. While Stavaas didn't make it to his court appearance, animal activists took over the sidewalk in front of the Otter Tail County courthouse, showing support for abused animals and requesting the harshest penalties against their abusers.
Many of the protestors at the Otter Tail County Courthouse predicted this might happen.
"I'm not in the least bit surprised. He's a coward and he always will be."
While the protest remained peaceful, the message was strong; to make an example out of Stavaas and give him the maximum penalty of the law.
"I want to see him not be allowed to own animals ever again."
“It's disgusting that someone can do that to their own dog. What could they do to somebody else and if they have a power issue like that, what if it was a kid or somebody who's handicapped or an elderly person that made them mad next time?"
For humane society volunteers who have worked with the German Shepherd mix named "Star", the brutality of her attack is still hard to fathom.
"She was still extremely friendly, tail-wagging. Came up to me and I was a little like 'should I pet her?" I wasn't sure, but she came up to me, just the friendliest, sweetest dog and I couldn't believe anyone would do that."
Humane Society workers say Star is now recovering well. With all her sutures removed and enjoying life in the loving home of a foster family. Some protestors drove from as far away as Fargo to show support for Star this morning.