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Doctor found guilty of animal abuse after shooting, hitting his dog with hammer

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 2:26 PM EDT
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DEARBORN COUNTY, Ind. (WXIX) - A doctor was found guilty Monday of animal abuse after shooting and hitting his dog in the head with a hammer in July 2019.

Joseph Stubbers, 58, was arrested nearly two years ago on cruelty to an animal charges, according to Dearborn County Prosecutor Lynn Deddens.

Dearborn County Sheriff’s deputies went to Laurel Valley Drive that day after someone who was concerned about the dog called 911.

Stubbers committed the acts on his neighbor’s property. Authorities say he went back to the neighbor’s home to clean up the blood afterward. He then left the dog for dead and went to a party.

“He was in such a rush, he left the garden hose on,” Deputy Prosecutor Jerry Charles said.

“The doctor thought that he had put Cooper down, that the dog was dead,” Deputy Prosecutor Jefferson Kisor explained.

Deputies said the dog had a “mutilated” right eye and wet, fresh blood coming from it.

“It’s gruesome evidence because it was a gruesome crime,” Kisor said.

Stubbers told sheriff’s deputies the dog attacked him when he grabbed its collar. The man claimed the dog “latched” onto his arm.

Deputies said they did not see any marks on Stubbers’ arm.

Stubbers then told the deputies he took the hammer to threaten the dog and used it to hit the dog in the head.

A neighbor told deputies they saw the doctor shoot the dog with a handgun.

“Not a person on the planet this dog was aggressive to, except its owner,” Charles said.

Joseph Stubbers (Dearborn County Sheriff's Department)
Joseph Stubbers (Dearborn County Sheriff's Department)

On Monday, Stubbers was found guilty on three counts of animal abuse.

Prosecutors say the timeline of events played a decisive role in the jury’s verdict.

They say Stubbers told them he went inside to get the hammer after he was bitten by the dog. But if he was truly in danger, they argued, Stubbers should have stayed inside and called 911.

Stubbers’ defense team tried to argue he was humanely destroying the dog. Not so, says Kisor.

“It was one of the most inhumane things we’ve ever put before a jury,” he said.

Stubbers will be sentenced on Sept. 7.

Cooper the dog, an English Mastiff, was rescued by Dearborn County Animal Control following the crime.

He has gained 65 pounds is now up to 200 and is happy as can be, his new owner said.

She says Cooper is the nicest dog she has ever had.

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