Federal agencies now involved in animal cruelty case
Story by Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter
DALTON, WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA. (WRCB)-- A man is in the Whitfield County Jail Thursday accused of beating a tiny dog to death with a stick.
The charges could eventually force him out of the country.
Though the man responsible is in custody, the family says it doesn't bring their dog back .
Originally, Jose Mendez Sifuentes faced a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge, and Thursday we learned the Immigration and Naturalization Service is now involved.
When officers arrived at Michelle Trotter's home, they found her holding her dead, tea-cup Chihuahua.
According to the police report, Jose Mendez Sifuentes used a stick to beat the three-pound dog while he was picking up his son from Michelle's neighbor.
Michelle's father said while his daughter and granddaughter cried, Influent showed no remorse, even laughing after killing the dog.
"He started laughing at them, my daughter slapped him on the shoulder and told him he was crazy," says Franklin Pratt, Trotter's father.
Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood says it may seem like these cases are becoming more prevalent, but he thinks it's because more people are bringing them to justice. He says that's a good thing, because he will not tolerate it.
"Should it be a misdemeanor or a felony, we are not going to tolerate any degree of animal cruelty. We are going to take a very hard stand," says Sheriff Chitwood.
Sifuentes was originally facing a misdemeanor charge, but after talking to Magistrate Court Judge Sidney Baxter and the booking department, we learned that immigration is now involved.
After his first appearance in court Thursday, the feds will eventually take over and move him to Atlanta, where he could deported.
Whatever the end result, Michelle's father Franklin says why he did it will never make sense.
"I can never figure out why he killed it to start with. It didn't offer to bite him. I asked Armondo, did that dog bite him, no," says Pratt.
The Trotter family says it will take $350 to replace the dog, but it's not the money they're worried about.