WASHINGTON, Washington County — A southern Utah man originally charged with just an infraction because of an animal violation now faces a second-degree felony for allegedly lying in court that he had shot and killed his dog.
Frank Howard Russell, 56, of Washington, was charged Tuesday in 5th District Court with making a false material statement, a second-degree felony; and disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor.
According to court records, Russell has had six infractions filed against him in Washington Justice Court since November. Five of those charges were for noise disturbances from his dog and one was for his dog attacking another person or animal, court records state.
On Jan. 5, Russell was ordered by a judge to turn over his dog to animal control, according to court records. But during a court hearing on Jan. 19, Russell "gave his word" that he had put the dog down himself, court records state.
Then on April 10, "the original complainant in…(the) barking cases notified the court, prosecutor, and police department that the dog was back at the (Russell's) home," according to an affidavit filed in 5th District Court.
Animal control officers went back to Russell's residence on April 12 to take the dog. But, "Frank stated that he already shot the dog and that he no longer has the dog. Frank began yelling and cursing at animal control officers," according to a police affidavit.
Because of his actions, the judge overseeing the dog biting case ordered Russell to serve five days in the Washington County Jail, court records state. He was arrested on Monday for investigation of lying in court.