A Spartanburg teenager is in jail on charges involving animal torture and arson.
On Tuesday, Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement officers said they heard that a young black Labrador had been abused only to discover the dog had died and been thrown in a creek.
According to the officer's report, 19-year-old Johnathan Meldzuk confessed to violently hitting his family's dog in the head and holding its body till it stopped shaking then wrapped it up and dumped it in the creek so, "nature could have back that which came from."
Meldzuk told officers they could not afford to take care of the dog and it would not leave, the report said. Animal control officers said they found evidence that corroborated his story at his Smythe Street home and after investigating, laid the animal to rest.
A few days earlier, Spartanburg County deputies were called to Meldzuk's neighbor's home on Jan. 11 after it caught fire. Deputies said an elderly, bedridden woman lived in the home.
Deputies said the neighbor suspected arson after he smelled smoke and saw a small propane tank on fire under the house's crawl space. The man put out the fire and called deputies. The man told deputies that he saw Meldzuk with a similar tank the day before and Meldzuk had recently acted more aggressive, threatening to kill things, according to the deputy's report.
Deputies later arrested Meldzuk and charged him with third-degree arson. Jail records show he was also charged with animal torture and malicious injury to property. He is being held on a combined $15,000 bond.
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