Sheriff: Puppy dies after man tapes its mouth shut, locks it in outside closet

(Photo: WISTV)
(Photo: WISTV)

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WISTV) - An Irmo man is in trouble with the law after authorities say he killed his son's puppy by taping its mouth shut and locking it in an outside laundry closet.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said deputies have arrested 37-year-old John Scott Mill, of Landmark Drive, on a charge of ill-treatment of animals.

The arrest warrant alleges that on May 27 Mill tortured, tormented and cruelly killed the six-month-old Labrador retriever by taping its mouth closed with electrical tape and storing the dog in a laundry closet on the rear porch outside the apartment, where it was deprived of food, water and appropriate living space, Metts said.

The dog's body was found at about 1 p.m. on Tuesday by moving company employees who were moving the washer and dryer and other belongings to a new apartment, where Mill planned to live with his wife and 3-year-old son.

Lexington County Animal Services took custody of the Labrador retriever's body, Metts said. The sheriff's department and Animal Services are working to arrange an autopsy on the dog's body in order to determine the cause and manner of the its death.

The arrest warrant further alleges that after the moving company employees found the dog's body, Mill removed the tape from the dog's mouth, threw the its body into a dumpster at the apartment complex and then drove away, Metts said.

One of the moving company employees reported the incident to the sheriff's department on Tuesday afternoon, Metts said. Deputies arrested Mill on Tuesday.

Mill's 27-year-old wife and their son left the Landmark Drive apartment on Sunday after John Mill, who had been drinking heavily, engaged her in a verbal dispute, Metts said. The Labrador retriever remained at the apartment with Mill.

After she left their apartment on Sunday, John Mill sent his wife several text messages and called her several times, making threats to kill the dog, Metts said. Mill's wife did not immediately report the threats to the sheriff's department and did not take the threats seriously because she knew that he was highly intoxicated when he sent the text messages and made the phone calls, the sheriff said.

Mill's wife returned to the Landmark Drive apartment on Tuesday in order to help supervise the removal and transportation of the family's belongings to their new apartment, Metts said.

Mill is being held at the Lexington County Detention Center on $50,000 bond.

Metts said Mill had been charged with CDV twice in Lexington before this most recent arrest for animal cruelty.

Under South Carolina law, ill-treatment of animals that involves torture or torment is a felony that carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, Metts said.

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