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Cottage Grove man charged with torturing dog

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. -- A Cottage Grove man faces felony animal torture and cruelty charges after saying he killed his dog over a dispute about where the animal should be kept, authorities said.

George R. Nichols, 37, was charged in Washington County District Court in the death of a miniature pinscher that Nichols told a relative he had killed with a machete. The severely injured dog was found pinned under a toppled portable toilet and was later euthanized.

Nichols told police the dog was his property, he could do whatever he wanted with the property and that he had killed chickens with a machete while growing up on a farm, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday.

Cottage Grove police were called June 21 by Nichols’ sister, who reported that her brother was acting strangely and that they had argued about where the dog, named Jack, should be kept during the day. Nichols had been staying at his sister’s home, but she wanted him to leave.

A passer-by found the dog and it was taken to Oakdale Emergency Animal Hospital, where it was euthanized.

Nichols was later was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and booked into the Washington County jail. The torture charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.