MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- One of the two Marble Hill men accused of killing a pit bull and disposing of its body in October admitted to trying to burn the body to shield the dog's owner from its death, court records say.
Levi Snider, 24, is charged with animal abuse for having allegedly killed the dog under circumstances not allowed by law. Travis Reed, 28, is charged with littering for having improperly disposed of the carcass by allegedly placing it upon premises that were not his.
The Bollinger County Sheriff's Department found the carcass near County Road 318 on Oct. 24.
When deputies canvassed the area for information Oct. 26, Snider denied knowing anything about the dog and said he was concerned for his own dog's safety, according to the probable-cause statement.
After meeting with Snider, deputies interviewed the man who lives between Snider and Reed and found that the man wanted to report one of his dogs as stolen. The man had posted signs around the area regarding the missing dog, according to the statement.
The man said he heard gunshots in the area one day the week before. When the man asked Reed if he knew anything about the missing dog, Reed denied having any information.
Deputies showed Reed a photograph of the carcass, and Reed denied knowing anything about it, according to the statement. Reed later admitted to deputies that he had heard gunshots Oct. 18 or 19 and that Snider told him he had shot the dog because its barking had ruined his hunting.
Snider later admitted to a deputy that the dog "charged" him and that he shot it through the shoulder "like you would a deer." The dog died instantly, Snider told the deputy. The dog was near a large tree on Reed's property, roughly 60 yards from his home, according to the statement.
A phone call to Snider's home went unanswered Monday evening.
Reed's neighbor, whose dog was missing, told Reed that if he found out what happened to his dog, he would kill whoever was responsible, according to court records.
That's when Reed panicked, he told sheriff's deputies.
Reed said he tried to burn the dog's body near a pond on his property, but it would not completely burn. Reed said he had learned that burning the carcass was humane, according to the statement.
A man installing a satellite dish at Reed's home later told deputies that he was present when the dog was shot and that he overheard a conversation between Reed and Snider in which Reed said he would burn the carcass by the pond.
Reed later showed deputies where he tried to burn the carcass, according to the statement.
Another visit from the dog's owner caused Reed to tie a rope around the carcass, drag it by hand back to his home, connect it to his truck and drag it down County Road 318 to the location where deputies found it Oct. 24.
A phone number for Reed could not be found.
An autopsy could not determine how the dog died, Bollinger County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Gray said Monday.
"The case does not look like the same kind of case that was initially broadcast," Gray said. "This is the actual evidence we have to work with. The forensics were used to try to confirm how the dog died. They were not able to confirm an actual cause, but witnesses all say the dog was shot.
"We'll wait and see what happens in court."
Bollinger County Sheriff Leo McElrath's secretary said Monday that he wouldn't comment on the case.
Marble Hill, MO