A criminal case that began with Wichita police responding to a report of a man throwing a dog in the air has ended with that man being sentenced to a year in jail for the dog’s death.
Cole Ford Carter, 20, was sentenced Monday after previously pleading guilty to three crimes in Sedgwick County District Court. A judge ordered him to serve 12 months in jail, but he will likely receive credit for the past two months he spent in the Sedgwick County Jail after violating his bond.
Carter was convicted of felony cruelty to animals, felony criminal threat and misdemeanor criminal carrying of a weapon.
The case centered around a brutal attack that killed 13-year-old Benji, a mix of a Bichon-Frise and a Maltese, according to court documents. The dog’s owners were in Wichita visiting family when the dog escaped through a fence before Carter intentionally ran it over multiple times, investigators said.
An affidavit written by a Wichita Police Department detective details the investigation into the case.
A Wichita police officer was first dispatched on Dec. 2, 2018, to the 3300 block of North Wild Rose, near 29th and Ridge, for a suspicious character call. The call came in at around 7:30 a.m. that Sunday.
The wife of the original 911 caller told police that she was looking out her dining room window when she “saw a small white dog fly into the air,” the detective wrote in the affidavit. She then saw the man pick up the dog, hold it over his head and slam it into the ground. The man drove away, and the couple called 911 with the tag number.
A responding officer found Carter in the same block in the driver’s seat of a vehicle matching the 911 caller’s description, the affidavit states. Carter “was repeatedly reaching for his front gray hoodie pocket after being told to keep his hands visible,” so the officer handcuffed him “for her personal safety.” A pat down revealed that he had a concealed Glock .40-caliber handgun.
Carter was prohibited from concealed-carrying a handgun because he was under 21 years old, leading to the misdemeanor weapons charge.
Police found blood and brain matter in the street around where the dog was found dead.
Officers reviewed security camera videos from two homes in the area that recorded portions of the attack.
One video showed a Ford Edge “trying to run over a small white poodle type dog,” the affidavit states. The dog tries to run away as the SUV drives into a yard and hits the dog. A man gets out of the driver’s seat and chases the dog into a corner. He then picks up the dog, slams it into the ground and stomps on it multiple times. He gets back into the SUV and runs over the dog several times. The SUV drives away as another vehicle drive up.
The owner of the dog told police that he and his wife were in Wichita to visit friends and family. His brother-in-law had let Benji into the backyard of a home on Shady Lane, where the dog hid under the deck. The brother-in-law thought the dog was safe outside and went back inside the house, and the dog ran away through a hole in the fence.
The dog’s owners were searching for the dog when police told them the approximately 15-pound dog had died.
Two passengers were in the SUV when Carter was arrested.
One passenger, Haylee Richards, told police that she had taken Xanax and was unaware of much of what had happened. She said Carter put a spare tire on after hitting a curb and getting a flat tire. The other passenger, Holly Price, was asleep in the backseat. After officers woke her up, she told police that she knew nothing about a dog.
Police said they suspected the Ford Edge driven by Carter had hit a mailbox in the 3000 block of North Tee Time, causing the flat tire.
Carter refused to talk with investigators, the affidavit states, prior to making a phone call from jail that led to a felony criminal threat charge.
“I’m going to whip that neighbor’s (expletive) when I get out I swear for calling me in on that (expletive),” Carter said in the jail call, according to police.
Booking reports show Carter lived in the 3300 block of North Wild Rose, the same block where he was arrested and the same block where the animal abuse happened.
Carter was out of jail until a Sept. 4 arrest for failure to comply. That arrest came the same day a judge revoked his previous bond, after Carter was accused of allowing the battery of his electronic monitoring bracelet to die at least six times in the previous month.
He has been in jail ever since, which means he will likely have two months credited to his 12 months jail sentence. In addition to jail time, the judge on Monday order Carter to pay a $500 fine and $569 in restitution to the victims. He was also sentenced to a year of probation on the criminal threat and weapons crime charges, but could spend up to a year in prison if he were to violate the terms of his probation.