The Animal Defense League of Arizona is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate one of its employees who is accused of animal cruelty.
Russell Files, 44, was arrested on Jan. 8 after police found his neighbor's dog caught in a trap he set to keep the animal out of his yard, authorities said.
Files was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on one count of felony animal cruelty.
His arrest followed a lengthy investigation dating back to Dec. 18, when El Mirage police found a 2-year-old Australian cattle dog covered in blood and entangled in the trap on his property.
The dog's front left foot and back left foot were caught in the trap, according to officers. Police said it appeared the dog had been baited into the trap because about two feet away there was an animal skull still containing some hair and flesh.
The dog, named Zoey, lost 17 teeth trying to chew its way out of the trap, officers said. The dog's gums were split open and her jawbone was exposed on both sides.
Files told police he set the traps intentionally to catch his neighbor's dog who had been repeatedly wandering around his home.
Surprise animal control, as well as Maricopa County animal control, arrived to assist with removing the injured dog from the traps.
Animal control officers assisted the owner by taking the dog to a local animal hospital, where she was treated for her injuries.
The attending veterinarian said the dog will need another surgery and extensive dental work just to be able to eat properly, according to the police report.
Files is an agent of Wildlife Services, a program of the USDA.
USDA spokeswoman Carol Bannerman released the following statement on Friday.
"We are aware that there is a charge against our employee alleging misconduct. Because it is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment at this time."
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