Dog Trapped, Neighbor Charged

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 10:37am

Arizona man accused of setting large leg traps that severely injured his neighbor's pet.

A 44-year-old El Mirage man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of injuring a neighbor's dog with a trap, police said.

Russell Files was booked into Maricopa County Jail after an extensive investigation by police detectives. Files faces one count of felony animal cruelty, police said.

Police responded Dec. 18 to an animal-cruelty call in the area of 14000 North 130th Avenue, El Mirage detective Kim Walden said.

Officers found a bloodied 2-year-old Australian Cattle dog caught in leg traps in the front yard of the home, Walden said.

The injured dog was released from the traps and taken to a local animal hospital for treatment. The dog is expected to survive.

Lindsay Hartt, the owner of the dog, said she heard the news that her dog, Zoey, was caught in a trap by her husband while she was at work.

"She was covered in blood," Hartt said. "Because of how much blood ... they thought that she may have even had broken some legs."

The dog lost 17 teeth, including some that were pulled, trying to chew her way out of the traps. Zoey also sustained severe injury to her mouth, according to the treating veterinarian.

Hartt said Zoey was missing part of her gums and her jaw bone was showing.

Files told police he intentionally set the traps to catch his neighbor's dog, which repeatedly escaped from its backyard and wandered onto his property.

"There had to have been bait in there," Hartt said. "But we don't know officially."

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