COURTESY OF MANDY RYAN
Trooper is fighting back after being left for dead.
A Farmington man accused of shooting a dog and hitting him over the head with a hammer
is now facing a felony charge.
Jason Hampton, 57, was charged yesterday with "Animal Abuse - 2nd/Subsequent Offense Or By Torture And/Or Mutilation While Animal Was Alive" in St. Francois County. He was booked into jail and released on a $10,000 bond.
Hampton, 57, allegedly confessed to shooting Trooper, a yellow lab mix, in the neck and then beating him on the head with a hammer in February. The dog was left paralyzed and spent weeks in a ditch before being brought to the home of Katrina Campbell, an animal rescue volunteer, on the evening of February 19.
Mandy Ryan, president of Missouri K9 Friends, was the first to start looking into Trooper's story after his injuries appeared more consistent with abuse than a car accident. She says that she approached Hampton after locals pointed her in his direction. Upon confronting him, she says, Hampton gave her a full confession and even said he would be willing to accept punishment.
In Farmington, it is legal to shoot animals that are, or seem to be, destroying private property. Hampton allegedly said he believed Trooper was after his female dog and shot at his feet to scare him. However, he missed and shot him in the neck. He then allegedly hit him with a hammer — the act that apparently led to the felony charge by St. Francois County prosecutors.
Late last week, Ryan went to the sheriff's office where she spoke with a deputy and provided a statement. At the time, Ryan said the deputy acted as if the case would be easy to prosecute. However, later that same day, Campbell overheard the deputy talking about Trooper's case in a local bar. When she approached him, he seemed uninterested in the case.
The deputy's reaction left Campbell and Ryan feeling uneasy about the outcome. In Farmington, law enforcement has little support when it comes to animal abuse cases and they are often over looked. But yesterday, prosecutors did indeed file charges.
Trooper will remain in the hospital for a few more weeks, according to Ryan, where doctors have given him a five percent chance to walk again. "So far he's gone against all odds," she says.