In June, Matthew Weatherspoon claimed that he had repeatedly slashed a five-month-old bulldog puppy in the face out of self-defense. "I'm not a crocodile hunter," he announced.
Neither is he in jail -- not now. But he's been given thirty months of supervised mental health probation and more for the crime.
The puppy, named Diamond, reportedly nipped at the nineteen-year-old Weatherspoon -- a common-enough occurrence given the dog's age and the likelihood she was teething. But he reacted in a most uncommon way, slashing at her face and eventually stabbing her a total of five times.
Weatherspoon then reportedly tossed the dog out of his apartment at 6875 Iliff Avenue because he was upset she was bleeding all over the place.
Fortunately, the puppy was found wandering nearby and immediately transported to a veterinary hospital, where she underwent three hours of surgery. She was subsequently placed in a medical foster home, where she remains at present.
For his part, Weatherspoon was arrested on suspicion of aggravated animal cruelty. But when he sat down for a jailhouse interview with interview with 9News anchor Kyle Clark, he had plenty of excuses for his actions.
His reaction to the anger generated by the story? He told Clark he could imagine why people might be angry at him, and "I'm angry at myself, too," he acknowledged, "But I had no clue what to do at the time. I was panicking. It was either fight or flight."
Why not choose flight? After all, it wouldn't have involved stabbing. But Weatherspoon didn't go there, at least in the portion of the interview broadcast. Instead, he insisted that "the only people who can sympathize with me are the people who have been attacked by animals. I'm not a crocodile hunter. I don't know how to deal with animal attacks other than to defend myself."
Problem is, cops didn't see any visible bite marks on Weatherspoon, whose previous record included busts for drug possession, assault and resisting arrest. But he still maintained that he'd suffered injuries: "She chipped my tooth. And my arm's all scratched up," he said.
He had plenty of time to heel; he's been in custody since his arrest. But after considering Weatherspoon's upbringing, the Denver District Attorney's Office determined that a thirty-month supervised probation sentence with mental health treatment was a better solution than imprisonment. In addition, he's been ordered to do 100 hours of community service and pay $6,800 in restitution -- and he can't own a pet until his probation has been satisfactorily completed.
And afterward? That's an unpleasant thought...
Look below to see a larger version of Weatherspoon's mug shot plus two 9News reports -- initial coverage followed by the aforementioned interview.
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