Case Snapshot
Case ID: 5923
Classification: Beating
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
More cases in Meigs County, TN
More cases in TN
Animal was offleash or loose
Login to Watch this Case

New features are coming soon. Login with Facebook to get an early start and help us test them out!



For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.



Monday, Oct 31, 2005

County: Meigs

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Ned F. Proffitt

Case Updates: 4 update(s) available

A man who was preparing to go trick or treating with his son Halloween evening says he saw his landlord kill some puppies with a hammer.

The man, James Shelton, showed local news the home video he took of puppies that have been living with other adult dogs in some woods and a field across from the Proffitt Mobile Home Park in Decatur Tennessee where he lives.

"They lay out in the grass and they've been sniffing around," Shelton said.

He and his neighbors were feeding the homeless animals up until Halloween evening.

Shelton said that's when "my son was looking out the window and we heard a gunshot."

Shelton said his landlord, Ned Proffitt, was shooting at the puppies. Shelton then grabbed his camcorder and videotaped the attack.

In that video Ned Proffitt is seen striking a black puppy in the head with a hammer. It falls to the ground and Proffitt strikes it another eight times. A moment later Proffitt is seen striking another puppy in deep grass. Later in the video the dead puppies are seen in close up shots that show massive wounds to the animal's heads, back and mid sections.

Shelton was so upset about what he saw he took his videotape to the Decatur Police Department to file a report.

Of the six puppies known to be in the area two were killed, one was taken by a neighbor and three have not been seen since the night of the attack.

Sergeant Eric Denton said a criminal summons was issued for Ned Proffitt charging him with animal cruelty, a misdemeanor in Tennessee. The case now goes before Meigs County Sessions Court Judge Jane Johnston-Crawley at a date yet to be determined.

Proffitt says a stray adult dog actually tried to attack someone in the neighborhood and, since the town can't help him, he had no choice but to try to shoot her. Unfortunately, he says, he hit the puppies and when he saw they weren't dead, he says he did the humane thing. That's when the cameras caught him beating the dogs to death.


Case Updates

A Meigs County man facing animal cruelty charges for being videoed killing puppies with a hammer two years ago could avoid jail if he meets the terms of his plea agreement.

In a court agreement dated October 1st, Ned Proffitt pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. He was facing two felony charges of aggravated animal cruelty. One of them was dismissed.

Under the terms of the misdemeanor plea, Proffitt must make a $2,000 donation to the Animal Control of Meigs County. If he completes that and other terms, then he will avoid an 11 month, 29 day prison sentence.

Back in November 2005, one of Proffitt's tenant's captured the graphic video of Profitt bludgeoning puppies.

At the time, Proffitt tells us there was a problem with strays around his trailer park and is concerned they'll attack children. He's that's the reason he killed the puppies.
Source: News Channel 9 - Dec 17 2007
Update posted on Dec 17, 2007 - 4:46PM 
A grand jury indicted a trailer park owner who beat two puppies to death with a hammer and then said the killings were intended to humanely end the animals' suffering after he accidentally shot them.

A neighbor's video shows the animal killings on Halloween.

District Attorney General J. Scott McCluen said in a statement Friday that a Meigs County grand jury indicted Ned Proffitt, 67, of Decatur on two felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Proffitt, who was previously charged in the case, is to appear in court Monday.

The indictment accuses Proffitt of knowingly and intentionally killing or causing serious physical injury to a companion animal on Oct. 31. Each count is punishable by a one-to-six-year sentence and up to a $3,000 fine.

Proffitt said in a telephone interview Friday that he was trying to shoot a stray dog the evening of Oct. 31 to protect young trick-or-treaters and instead shot the pups, wounding them. When he saw the pups weren't dead, he did what he considered to be the humane thing and beat them to death with a hammer.

"I took a hammer out there and put them to sleep. That's a humane thing to not to let them suffer. It was necessity, after the fact," Proffitt said. "I love dogs. I love animals, but I have to take care of people first."

Proffitt said the trailer park has had a problem with nuisance stray dogs and before the puppies were killed some residents had complained about being frightened. He said he previously had set traps and called police, but the problem continued.

The video was taken by a trailer park resident who has said he and some of his neighbors had been feeding the stray animals.

A spokesman for the district attorney declined comment about the video, which shows Proffitt striking a black puppy in the head with a hammer. The pup falls to the ground and Proffitt strikes it another eight times. A moment later Proffitt is seen striking another puppy in deep grass. The video then shows the dead puppies.

Proffitt said the wrongdoers are "the people that turn them loose. All I was trying to do is keep those kids from being bit."
Source: Knox News - July 28. 2006
Update posted on Jul 29, 2006 - 1:29PM 
Ned Proffitt's animal cruelty case from Meigs County, Tennessee was supposed to be heard in court on December 15, 2005. Instead, Ned Proffitt's case was passed until next year. This is the second time Proffitt's case was passed.

Proffitt was supposed to stand before Judge Jayne Johnston-Crowley at 9:00 a.m., but was not present in the courtroom. Assistant District Attorney Kristin Kelly said Proffitt's attorney, Bill Reedy, asked that the case be moved to the 1:00 p.m. docket. At that time, she announced the case was passed again until February 2006.
Kelly said Reedy asked for more time to prepare his case. But one piece of evidence key to the prosecution's case will be hard to refute. It shows Proffitt killing puppies with a hammer on October 31, 2005. One puppy was struck nine times before it died.
Proffitt is charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Meigs County animal rights advocate Cynthia Ledford said "it isn't going away. I get weekly calls from PETA and from a representative of the ASPCA out of New York city, and it's just not going to go away. It was too publicized and too brutal."
The stray puppies were living in some woods across the street from Proffitt's mobile home park. He and his wife told NewsChannel 9 the puppies were vicious, and since there is no animal control in Meigs County they said they thought it was appropriate for the animals to be killed. Some puppies survived. Ledford said "we went out to the area and we rescued the remaining five. They have since been adopted to wonderful, loving homes."

The man who made the home video tape of the puppies being attacked, James Shelton, used to rent a trailer from Proffitt. Neighbors said he has since moved to another county.

Ned Proffitt is due back in court February 16, 2006.
Source: News Channel 9 News - December 15, 2005
Update posted on Dec 17, 2005 - 12:06AM 
Ned Proffitt, who has been charged with animal cruelty, told WTVC-TV in Chattanooga that the videotape of him beating the two pups with a hammer does not start until after he had tried to shoot a stray dog and instead shot the pups, wounding them.

Proffitt told the station that when he saw the pups weren't dead, he did what he considered to be the humane thing and beat them to death with a hammer.

Proffitt said his mobile home park has a problem with nuisance stray dogs and some residents have been frightened.

Bobbie Fisher, a neighbor, said she "got bit up and tore up by the puppies. The mother wasn't there but I'm glad she wasn't because she's wild."

Proffitt said he previously had set traps and called police, but the problem continued. Decatur and Meigs County do not have animal control officers.

"I don't like to kill animals," Proffitt told WTVC. "But someone has to take responsibility. I wouldn't want those kids in the neighborhood to get hurt for anything."

The video of Proffitt approaching puppies and killing them with a hammer was taken by a resident at the mobile home park, James Shelton.

Shelton said he and some of his neighbors were feeding the animals until Halloween evening.

The video shows Proffitt striking a black puppy in the head with a hammer. It falls to the ground and Proffitt strikes it another eight times. A moment later Proffitt is seen striking another puppy in deep grass. The video then shows the dead puppies.

Decatur Mayor Dean Henry said Proffitt has other options in dealing with strays.

"If we've got a phone call, notifying our police department of a stray dog, our policemen actually take a cage and go out and trap that animal," Henry said. "Then we take it to a local veterinarian and let the veterinarian care for it."

Henry said Decatur is a small town and "we just don't have the funding available to have an animal control and build a shelter and everything. Our tax base just won't allow for that."
Source: Southern Standard - Nov 7, 2005
Update posted on Nov 7, 2005 - 9:37PM 

References

« TN State Animal Cruelty Map
« More cases in Meigs County, TN

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.

For more information regarding classifications and usage of this database, please visit the database notes and disclaimer.