MARION, Va. -- A Marion man has been charged with felony animal cruelty after Smyth County Animal Control officers investigated the Sept. 12 stabbing of a dog on Cleghorn Valley Road in Marion.

According to a Sept. 27 criminal complaint filed in Smyth County General District Court, two men reported seeing 54-year-old Joseph Franklin Stuart stab his neighbor’s dog, “killing it almost instantaneously.”

The complaint states that Stuart said the dog, an approximately 60-pound Pyrenees mix, killed another neighbor’s cat. Animal Control Chief Chris Bennett said the dog reportedly attacked several other animals, but no one reported those attacks to animal control.

“It would be a different case if the individual were protecting themselves, their family or livestock or animals at home,” he said. “For somebody to take matters into their own hands when it comes to something like that, we’ve always filed charges and we’ll continue to do so.”

Bennett encouraged residents to contact animal control regarding animal attacks.

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