AUSTIN (KXAN) — A veterinarian’s autopsy suggested to police that a man may have stabbed his girlfriend’s dog in the head with something resembling a flat-head screwdriver at least two times, leading police to issue a warrant for his arrest.
Johnny Ray Doolin, 27, took the dog, a brown and black male Yorkshire Terrier identified as Prince in police documents, to a veterinarian clinic on March 24 because it was not moving and was bleeding from its head. Doolin reported to the vet’s office that Prince had jumped off the counter and hit his head.
After attempts to save Prince failed, a vet found two puncture wounds in Prince’s head, which resulted in numerous skull fractures, as seen on an x-ray. Veterinary staff determined during an autopsy that Prince had seemingly been stabbed in the head, as only blunt force trauma could cause the fractures, police noted in their report. Prince also had bruising on his neck consistent with being held and squeezed.
Staff at the vet’s office told police, when Doolin’s girlfriend arrived at the clinic, she was heard yelling at him “You’re paying for this, this time.” Prince had been brought into the office two other times in the previous nine days, once with eye hemorrhaging and another time with bruising on his stomach and legs. Both times it was explained as accidents.
When officers questioned the girlfriend, she told them that Prince’s behavior towards Doolin had recently changed, prompting the dog to stay at her side when he was around. She also told police Doolin would have excuses for Prince’s previous injuries, either hitting his eye on a faucet or jumping off a bed. She said she hadn’t ever seen him be violent with Prince, but after learning of the injuries that led to his death, she believed Doolin was responsible.
Doolin told police that on the morning of the 24th, he sent his girlfriend a video of Prince around 9:24 and around 10 a.m. he had put Prince on the kitchen counter. When he turned around to get dog food, Prince jumped down. Doolin said the next thing he realized was that Prince was hurt, bleeding from his head on the ground. Authorities said Prince did appear healthy in the video.
Doolin told police he used paper towels to clean Prince’s blood off the floor and off his head. His girlfriend told police she didn’t find any bloody paper towels or notice anything out of place.
Police determined that Doolin was the only way Prince could have received the injuries he sustained. “The puncture wounds through the skin and skull indicate an intentional act of anger towards the dog,” the warrant states.
Police said in an arrest warrant that, because Doolin works nights, he sleeps during the day and may have gotten irritated with Prince’s daytime behavior. Police also believe it’s possible Doolin was jealous of Prince because of how attached it was to his girlfriend. Authorities noted that Doolin admitted that Prince did not respond to him for several weeks and would whine at the door when his girlfriend left for work.
Doolin is currently in jail with a $5,000 bond. He is charged with Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals.