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Man slammed dog to ground to show dominance, police say

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Sep. 19, 2020 at 8:16 p.m.


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MURRAY — A man who claimed he was trying to gain dominance over his dog when he slammed it to the ground has been charged.

Devin Jordan Spoelstra, 25, of Murray, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with torture of a companion animal, a third-degree felony.

On Wednesday, Spoelstra raised his dog Zeus over his head and slammed it to the ground, according to charging documents. He then “straddled Zeus, knelt on top of Zeus and repeatedly punched Zeus in the head and right side of his body with his fist,” according to charging documents. “Spoelstra then struck Zeus repeatedly with his forearm in the head, grabbed the snout of Zeus and held his mouth closed.”

He also pulled the dog off the ground by its leash and collar, according to court documents.

Surveillance video from a nearby apartment complex recorded the incident, the charges state.

Witnesses also saw Spoelstra kick Zeus and yank the dog’s leash as they were walking through a park, according to the charges.

When interviewed by police, Spoelstra said he was upset that the dog would not listen to him and that he “put Zeus on the ground to gain dominance and control over him and said he ‘slapped’ Zeus on the face,” the charges state.

He continued the same actions when he returned to his apartment, according to the charges.

Spoelstra was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail. Neither court documents nor Murray police stated what kind of dog Zeus is. But police say after being treated by a vet, the dog was turned over to animal services to be put up for adoption.

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Pat Reavy

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