Columbia man pleads guilty to torturing, abusing dog

Prosecutors: William D. Smith beat dog that later had to be put down

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A Columbia man pleaded guilty to felony animal abuse charges stemming from a March 2013 incident.

William Dean Smith, 38, pleaded guilty to felony animal abuse during his jury trial on Thursday.

Boone County prosecutors say Smith purposely caused suffering by torturing a dog while it was alive at the Colonial Village Trailer Park on Rangeline Street.

Prosecutors say Smith used a 2-by-2 wooden board to beat the dog into a coma on March 8. The dog sustained injuries to its head and face, as well as puncture wounds.

The dog was euthanized later that day.

"We find that this is a very serious offense ," said prosecutor Cecily Daller. "We think studies have shown there is a link between violence toward animals and then violence toward people, so because of that, because the studies we have read, and nature of the crime here particularly in the specific case, we find this to be a very serious offense we do take it seriously."

Judge Gary Oxenhandler has scheduled a Dec. 9 sentencing date.

Smith remains in the Boone County Jail.

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