Case Snapshot
Case ID: 15229
Classification: Stabbing
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Abuse was retaliation against animal's bad behavior
Drugs or alcohol involved
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Sunday, Dec 7, 2008

County: Wade Hampton

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Carl Vaska

A Russian Mission man charged with stabbing four chained sled dogs, leaving two of them dead, pleaded no contest to animal cruelty Tuesday in a Bethel courtroom. Carl Vaska, 20, was drunk on home brew the night of Dec. 7 when he took a knife and slashed the animals, which were chained in a yard, according to an affidavit from an investigating state wildlife trooper. Vaska's parents later found bloody gloves in his room.

The dogs' owners, Andrew and Christine Stephanoff, told wildlife trooper Dan Dahl that Christine went to feed the dogs the next day and "found two dead dogs and two that were really badly wounded."

"It was a really bad scene, a lot of blood of course," Dahl said.

Word got around the small village quickly. Vaska's parents confronted their son after they found the gloves and he admitted to the killing, Dahl said. The parents called the Stephanoffs to apologize.

Vaska's dog, Bear, had been killed earlier in the year and he suspected someone in the village had done it, Dahl said. In his drunken state, Vaska thought he was taking revenge on his dog's killer, he told Dahl. Vaska said he blacked out and couldn't remember the incident clearly.

One of the injured dogs is still unable to bark, Dahl said. The other is weak but is slowly improving.

Vaska faces up to a year in jail for each count of cruelty as well as a fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 25.

Sale and importation of alcohol are banned in Russian Mission, a village of about 300 people in Southwest Alaska about 70 miles northeast of Bethel.


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