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Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012County: Hamilton
Charges: Felony CTA
Alleged: Sarah Rust
Investigators say an argument between a woman and her live-in boyfriend ended when the woman tossed her boyfriend's dog off a second floor balcony, killing it.
Sarah Rust, 28, is charged with animal cruelty, a class D felony in the death of Raider, boyfriend Shawn Davidson's dog.
According to court documents, the couple had an argument on January 24 that got out of control, ending with the dog dead on the ground beneath their apartment balcony.
Court documents indicate Davidson told employees at a veterinary clinic and an ex-girlfriend that Rust threw Raider off the balcony.
The dog's death was reported by Davidson's ex-girlfriend, who says the dog once belonged to her and Davidson.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Amanda Henriott called police after Davidson came to her house to bury the dog in her backyard.
Henriott told police Davidson also had a letter with him from Rust to the dog. Police collected the letter and included a copy of it in the affidavit of probable cause.
The letter read:
First and foremost forgive me, but also forgive me and your daddy for fighting. We brought your life into our quarrel. You did not deserve to be any part of our combat. I ended your life, for which I am truly sorry my son. I feel as if a part of my soul has died with yours. Might you forgive me and let your daddy at peace in your prayers V I will do my best to redeem myself but I know you can never be replaced. Once again baby Raider I love you and I'm so sorry for ending your precious life...Just give me a signal from up above when I'm selecting Daddy's Next Best 2nd Friend. I love you Raider... I'm sorry and God bless you. You will always be his #1."
According to the affidavit, Henriott told police the letter was not signed by Rust but the author identified herself as mommy number 2 because Henriott was considered mommy number 1.
Investigators say when they questioned Davidson about what happened, he told them he didn't see Rust throw the dog off the balcony and claimed he only told people that because he was angry over his dog's death and wanted to blame someone.
According to police, Davidson said he was in the backyard looking for his cell phone that he dropped from the balcony when Davidson says Rust told him Raider wiggled out of her arms and jumped over the balcony.
Neighbors told police they didn't see Rust throw the dog off the balcony either, but heard the couple arguing.
Despite the changing stories, the Hamilton County Prosecutor's office decided there was enough evidence to charge Rust with animal cruelty.
"It's a situation that I think got out of hand," said Hamilton County Supervising Deputy Prosecutor Amy Summerfield. "That animal suffered because of it."
Summerfield said the prosecutor's office felt justified with the D felony charge against Rust.
"There's a reason the legislature made it a D felony because they feel its important and worthy of either jail time or Department of Correction time if that's what a judge deems fit," said Summerfield.
Rust is out of jail on $5,000 bond. Her next appearance in court is an initial hearing scheduled for February 24th at 1pm in Superior Court 4.
Note: Classifications and other fields should not be used to determine what specific charges the suspect is facing or was convicted of - they are for research and statistical purposes only. The case report and subsequent updates outline the specific charges. Charges referenced in the original case report may be modified throughout the course of the investigation or trial, so case updates, when available, should always be considered the most accurate reflection of charges.
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