DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - A Detroit Lakes man is accused of body slamming a 14-week-old puppy three or four times and breaking its leg after it defecated in the house.
Brandon Scott Hesse Hamilton, 32, has been charged in Becker County District court with gross misdemeanor cruelty to an animal.
According to court records, shortly before noon on Thursday, Aug. 24, a Detroit Lakes police officer was called to Hesse Hamilton's house on Gary Avenue to check on the status of a dog that he had allegedly badly beaten.
The officer was met by Hesse Hamilton's sister, who was holding a black and white Bluetick Coonhound puppy named Millie. She told the officer she was afraid that Millie's leg was broken.
That morning Hesse Hamilton and several other people were at the residence playing video games. Millie got up and defecated on the floor. The sister said she heard Hesse Hamilton swear and watched him walk over and pick up Millie. He allegedly raised her over his head and slammed her down into the feces on the floor. She heard the dog yelp in pain, but Hesse Hamilton allegedly continued to pick up the dog and slam her to the floor several more times. He reportedly rubbed the dog into the feces everytime he slammed her down.
After the beating, Millie was unable to get up. Hesse Hamilton grabbed the dog, dragged her outside and tied her up. The sister continued to hear the dog yelp in pain and went outside to try to comfort Millie by wrapping her in a blanket. Hesse Hamilton came outside, took the blanket away, put his hand on Millie's head and shoved it into the ground, saying "don't (expletive) on my floor."
The sister told him to leave the dog alone, and stayed with Millie, but couldn't get her to move. She took Millie inside and gave her a bath, and the puppy yelped in pain the whole time she was being bathed. Hesse Hamilton left the home and was not there when the police officer arrived.
The officer interviewed others who were at the home, and they gave similar accounts of what happened.
The officer took the dog to the Marshmallow Foundation, which serves as a Detroit Lakes animal shelter. It was confirmed that Millie had a broken leg and needed surgery.
Hesse Hamilton's wife, Ashley, who owns the dog, said she had no money to pay for the surgery, and surrendered ownership of Millie, who was taken to the University of Minnesota for complex surgery.
The officer went back to the residence. Hesse Hamilton was there and denied hurting the dog. He was arrested and taken to jail.
On Friday, he appeared in court before District Judge Michelle Lawson, who set cash bail at $300 or bond at $3,000, with standard conditions of release, or bond at $6,000 without conditions.
Hesse Hamilton's application for a public defender was denied because of an incomplete application. Court records said there was no indication of his wife's income and the amount of worker's compensation being received.
Dr. James K. McCormack of the Detroit Lakes Animal Hospital said he examined Millie.
"We triaged and identified the lameness to right rear leg," he said. "We sedated and took X-rays and gave treatment options, and luckily for Millie she was able to go down to the University (of Minnesota) where they could plate and wire and pin these pieces back together."
He said the surgery went well, but Millie isn't out of the woods yet. "There is a lot of muscle trauma," he said, "so time is really going to be the tell here. If we can heal this up and keep the muscles from scarring up into all this trauma site, we should have a fairly good leg coming back to stand on, but if the muscles get scarred up into the fracture site as things heal, we can get a lot of tie-down or loss of motion."
Millie is now recovering in a foster home, according to a post on the Marshmallow Foundation's Facebook page, "but she has a long road ahead of her. Unlike most 4-month-old puppies, she is unable to go outside and run and play ... During the surgery, she had a bone plate and 9 metal screws placed within her leg. Her activity is severely restricted for 4-6 weeks in order to give her leg a chance to heal. So playing and running will have to be placed on hold for now, but at least she is safe and being spoiled every single day!"
The Marshmallow Foundation has set up an online donation site at YouCaring to help offset Millie's medical costs, which are currently at $3,700, with follow up radiographs still to come. As of Tuesday night, 38 people had donated a total of $1,495.