A head injury and two fractured ribs, one of which was a complete break - Those are the injuries to the English Mastiff named "Meatball" who is now at the center of a criminal case that could result in time behind bars for his owner, John Sporer.
Sporer, 24, is charged with felony animal torture for the alleged abuse that a neighbor captured on video using his cell phone on Feb. 19, 2016.
While prosecutors and animal advocates say there is no excuse for Sporer's actions that day, he reportedly claims that Meatball attacked him when he tried to get the dog to let go of a cat.
In court, Thursday, for Sporer's preliminary examination, the neighbor who shot the video, Timothy England, said he never saw a cat.
What England says he did see is Sporer, using a closed-fist, strike the dog multiple times and slam the dog's head up against brick on back side of the house. England said the alleged abuse took place in intervals in a span of about 10 or 12 minutes.
A veterinarian described Meatball as "wonderful dog" who was "very friendly."
At the end of Thursday's hearing, Eastpointe District Judge Carl Gerds III decided that there was enough evidence to order Sporer to stand trial.
Sporer seemed unfazed by animal advocates who protested his alleged cruelty to Meatball as he left the courthouse.
Sporer is expected to appear in Macomb County Circuit Court for a preliminary arraignment on July 5.
Meatball has been removed from Sporer's custody, but because of the potential duration of the case, Detroit Pit Crew Dog Rescue encouraged prosecutors to have the dog moved from a small cage at a veterinary clinic to a pet boarding facility.
"Meatball is a big, sweet, friendly dog, but he doesn't bark very often," said Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith. "He can't speak for himself in this case, so we're going to do the speaking for him. We show zero tolerance for animal cruelty in Macomb County."
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