Man pleads guilty in torture killing of dog

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (AP) -- An East Tennessee man has entered a guilty plea in the torture killing of his family's dog, telling the court he was abusing bath salts, alcohol, pain pills and heroin at the time.

The Johnson City Press ( ) reported 22-year-old Dustin Ricky Harrell entered his plea on Wednesday in Washington County Criminal Court. He was charged with aggravated animal abuse.

Harrell told Judge Robert Cupp he could tell him what caused his actions, but acknowledged everything had been a choice he made.

Investigators said Harrell tortured a four-pound Yorkshire terrier in November, throwing it down the stairs, holding its head under water and putting it in a clothes dryer. He then told his family the dog had been hit by a car.

Sentencing was scheduled for July 10.

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