NORTH EAST, Md. - His leg still bears the scars of a previous bite, so Reggie Farley of North East says he knew all too well that his beloved pit bull, named 'Thor', was prone to attack.
"My dog attacked me before,” said Farley, “He attacked a couple of people at a party. He attacked like three people. He got out recently and attacked like two dogs down the street. So he's been on an aggressive rampage mode I guess you'd call it."
And the rampage continued when Thor got out of his fence and attacked Cujo, a three-year-old shepherd/lab mix down the street late Wednesday.
"I pulled up and they got the dogs apart. The owner got the dog off my dog," said Annette Sexton, "He's doing good. He's got a little bit of swelling. He's got some drainage tubes in, but he's doing good. He's barking so that's a good sign."
While Cujo survived the attack, Thor's owner would soon make a decision to end his dog's life that would land him in jail.
"I hear the yelling. I go down there and get my dog,” recounted Farley, “Come back, and when I come back, he's attacking me again. So I said, 'At this point, you know what? I love my dog to death, but he has to go, and it wasn't me being cruel, like I'm cruel to my animal. It was at the point that it was too much."
When a trooper responded to a call for a dog attack, he heard the sound of another canine yelping loudly from behind Farley's home.
"The trooper found this pit bull laying there grievously wounded with a knife sticking out of its neck," said Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police, "Based on the severity of the wound and the suffering that the animal was enduring, the trooper used his department-issued pistol to end its suffering, and then arrested this owner for animal cruelty."
Farley claims he thought he had killed the dog, and he was just as surprised as the trooper when he found it writhing in pain.
"He was still... a little moving and I was like, 'My God. Oh my God,'" said Farley, "I loved that dog to death. You can ask my neighbors and everyone in this neighborhood knew it was my dog. I loved my dog to death. It's like my kid. That hurt. That's my best friend. So, yes, it hurts me very bad. It's not something I'm gloating about."
Accident or not, Farley faces a pair of animal cruelty charges that are misdemeanors, which each carry a maximum of 90 days in jail and $1,000 fines if he's convicted.