Police: Man Killed Dog With Machete
Lincoln Man Says Dog's Death Was Self-Defense
POSTED: 5:12 pm CDT June 24, 2008
UPDATED: 5:32 pm CDT June 24, 2008
LINCOLN, Neb. -- A Lincoln man faces a charge of felony animal cruelty after he allegedly tried to cut off a pit bull's head with a machete.
Police said the incident started with an argument over a scratch on the floor and escalated on Monday night.
Leonard Yankton, 32, called police and told them the dog had tried to attack him, so he used the machete to fight back.
IIt appeared Leonard Yankton tried to chop the dog's head off," said Lincoln Officer Katie Flood.
The pit bull was taken to an animal clinic, where it died. Yankton was arrested and charged with felony animal abuse.
"Apparently, where the injuries were on the dog, it could not have been in attack mode. It appeared the dog had been laying down," Flood said.
Two hours earlier, police had to break up a fight between Yankton's girlfriend, Meri Backensto, and the dog's owner, Jessica Goff. Police said Goff was kicking the couple out of their shared living space. Both women were ticketed on suspicion of assault.
"They were moving out and the argument occurred over a scratch that was made on the floor," Flood said.
Both women left the apartment, leaving Yankton alone with the dog, Flood said.
"The dog was agitated," Yankton told KETV NewsWatch 7 "My girlfriend and her owner had just gotten into a fight. She just left the dog there. I think she did it on purpose so it would attack me. They are trying to make me out as a monster -- a dog killer. I was just trying to protect myself. If I had a gun, I would have shot it. I had a machete."
Phyllis Stone said she has known Yankton for years. She said she believes the only time he would hurt an animal was to defend himself.
"If a machete was the only thing to defend himself, that's what he would do," Stone said.
"When the officer was there before at 6:30, Leonard was petting the dog," Flood said.
The maximum sentence for felony animal cruelty is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Bless the Bullys