Dog slashed to death at Asheville park, suspect arrested

"I saw the attacker, definitely with all of his strength — with what I thought at the time was a closed fist — slamming on the dog, really."


On Monday in Asheville, North Carolina, 43-year-old James Wesley Henry was arrested and charged with felony cruelty to animals after he allegedly killed an 11-year-old mixed-breed dog named Beignet by slashing its throat and stabbing it repeatedly. 

Police Captain Michael Lamb told the Asheville Watchdog, "The guy killed the dog with a knife, basically eviscerating it." He said the dog bit Henry, but only after he had started "slashing at it with a knife."

According to the Asheville Police Department, "Shortly after their arrival, and with several community members' assistance identifying the suspect, officers quickly located and arrested James Wesley Henry." 

The owner of the Dog, Liesbeth Mackie, said that she had secured the 35-pound Beignet on a leash near the Tennis courts where she was playing Pickleball. "She was peacefully lying in the shade — she was tied up with a very long leash," she said. 

“Then my (pickleball) partner said, ‘Someone’s beating your dog," she told the outlet. 

Eric Hulin was also playing on the court when he saw the attack happening. "All of a sudden, I noticed that there was some commotion happening with her dog,” he said. “I saw the attacker, definitely with all of his strength — with what I thought at the time was a closed fist — slamming on the dog, really.”

"I turned and looked at the dog, and saw its last couple of yelps and twitches,” Hulin continued. "It was covered in blood. There was blood everywhere. It took me a moment because I wasn’t sure what happened.”

Witnesses at the scene said that the man had been acting erratically. Just before the attack, they heard "pretty violent-sounding language" coming from the baseball fields.  

Zen Sutherland followed Henry after the attack as he walked to his car. He said he was "yelling at himself, or the world, or the injustices of life or whatever.”

“I recognized that he was angry with the world and he had a problem with people following him, but at the same time, I thought, ‘What can I do? What can I do as a person?’” he said.

Lamb noted that Ashville has had issues with erratic behavior around the city in the last few months. "We’ve had over the last couple of months, whether it’s mental health, addiction, or both, we have seen a lot of that erratic behavior around town," he said. 

Henry was booked into the Buncombe County Detention Facility on a $10,000 bond, and his court date is set for July 18. 

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