February 1, 2005
KNOXVILLE (AP) -- A Knox County grand jury will get the animal cruelty case against a man accused of killing a puppy to torment his estranged wife.
Forty-year-old Timothy David Sawyer is accused of shutting a bathroom door on the neck of a Jack Russell terrier, then pouring liquid makeup down the puppy's throat until it suffocated.
The dog belonged to the 13-year-old daughter of Sawyer's wife.
Court records show Sawyer has repeated arrests for domestic violence involving his wife, who isn't identified in the records. She has an order of protection against him.
Prosecutor Willie Harper and defense attorney David Skidmore agreed to let a grand jury decide whether the case should be prosecuted as a felony.
Sawyer contends he only intended to stop the puppy from whining, but police Officer Kathy Pappas says Sawyer made a series of phone calls to the woman's home in which he said he killed the animal.
Pappas says police were listening to the calls and heard him confess.
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