Family Law

Lawyer Charged with Dog Cruelty After Police Say He Slit Pet's Throat and Texted Photo to Wife

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An Alabama lawyer has been charged with cruelty to a dog after police say he slit the throat of his family’s pet pit bull and texted a photo of the dead dog to his estranged wife while the two were in the midst of a bitter custody battle over the canine during an ongoing divorce.

After a five-month investigation in which the body of the American Staffordshire bull terrier was exhumed and sent for forensic testing to a lab in Florida, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office on Tuesday announced the charge against James Stewart Robinson, 45. His bond was set at $40,000 in the felony case, but he has not yet turned himself in, according to the Birmingham News.

“I really can’t understand how someone could be capable of doing that to their own lovable, loyal and innocent pet,” said Chief Deputy Randy Christian. “It doesn’t get more twisted than that. This story will shock, anger and sadden many people.”

Police say Robinson left a voicemail for his wife, telling her “Your day is coming girl,” after sending her the photo of the dead dog, Rufus. Robinson was convicted of harassment in Vestavia Hills Municipal Court over the incident and sentenced to six months, but is appealing the verdict to Jefferson County Circuit Court. A jury trial there is scheduled for January.

It isn’t clear from the article whether the couple is now divorced but a WIAT article about the animal cruelty case indicates that they are not.

The article doesn’t include any comment from Robinson or his defense counsel and the newspaper says it wasn’t able to reach his attorney. Robinson reportedly told authorities that his wife, who is not named in the article, killed Rufus to prevent her husband from getting custody.

The sheriff’s department credited the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the University of Florida’s Animal Forensics Laboratory for helping them make the cruelty case against Robinson and said it would not have been possible without their help.

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