BUCHANAN COUNTY — An Independence man was found guilty by a jury Thursday of beating his dog, which prosecutors say he asked his son to film to teach his children a lesson about securing the dog in a kennel.
Jason O’Neil Johnson, 42, of Independence, was found guilty of one count of animal torture shortly after 1:30 p.m. Thursday, after just two days of testimony in Buchanan County District Court.
Prosecutors showed video to the jury they say shows Johnson beating his family’s 2-year-old boxer/pitbull/mastiff mix, Daisy, with a belt and his closed fists on May 17. The video shows Johnson repeatedly punching the dog.
Prosecutors said Johnson was upset that Daisy had chewed on a pair of his sunglasses.
Prosecutors say Johnson told his son to record a portion of the beating, and send the resulting video to Johnson’s other children “to show the children what happens when they fail to properly secure Daisy in her kennel.”
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The Independence Police Department was given a copy of the video days later and removed Daisy from Johnson’s home and arrested him on the animal torture charge. The Courier elected not to show the video due to its graphic nature.
First-offense animal torture is an aggravated misdemeanor with a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine between $625 and $6,250, according to Iowa Code. It also requires those convicted of the charge to submit a psychological evaluation and treatment, and complete community service.
Sentencing was not yet scheduled as of Thursday.