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September 18, 2014

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Man who stabbed dog because he ‘wanted to’ will plead guilty

The man who told an officer he slit the throat of his family’s pet because he liked to hurt dogs agreed to plead guilty today during a hearing in Las Vegas Township Justice Court.

The case will now go to Clark County District Court. An arraignment is set for March 5. At that point, Jeremy Espiritu, 22, plans to plead guilty to one count of attempting to kill an animal, which can be either a gross misdemeanor or felony.

Espiritu was originally charged with one count of killing, maiming or disfiguring the animal of another.

A small group of animal activists attended the hearing.

A Metro Police report outlines the following details regarding the dog’s death:

When Metro Police responded to the 4000 block of Snead Drive — near Washington Avenue and Valley View Boulevard — on Dec. 5, 2013, an officer found a home drenched in blood with a black dog that appeared to be bleeding from its neck.

While the officer was on scene, Espiritu’s mother yelled at her son, demanding to know why he would stab the dog.

“Because I wanted to,” Espiritu said.

The officer intervened, “Because you wanted to?”

“Yes,” Espiritu replied. “I like to hurt dogs.”

While the home belonged to Espiritu’s family members, he didn’t live there.

His stepfather, Jay Vigilia, 43, said his stepson would come to the house every couple of days and was essentially homeless, often disappearing for large chunks of time.

Vigilia said his stepson struggled with addiction and undiagnosed mental illness.

Vigilia said he woke up because he heard something cry out in pain. When Vigilia went to investigate he found a large pool of blood, a 6-inch knife and his dog Serenity collapsed in the hallway, bleeding.

Before arresting Espiritu, the officer asked Espiritu if he was OK and if he had stabbed the dog in self-defense.

“Nope. I just wanted to stab the dog,” Espiritu said. “So I sat on the floor and cut its neck.”

The dog was transported to an animal hospital, but bled to death.

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