Man Stabbed His Dog in the Head, Left Her to Die in Desert: Police


A dog owner is facing charges after he beat and stabbed his pet before leaving her for dead in the Nevada desert in a botched attempt at euthanasia, police said.

Wayne Johnson, 76, of Spokane, Washington, was arrested September 14 in Laughlin, Nevada, facing one count of malicious torture to kill an animal, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) told local media.

Johnson told authorities that he beat his dog, named Kea, over the head with a hammer to render her unconscious before stabbing her in the head and slashing her throat, police said. He left Kea in the Nevada desert to be eaten by wild animals “because it was the circle of life,” according to court documents obtained by local station KSNV. He told police she was “getting too old and sick and wanted to put her down,” the arrest report states.

A woman found a bleeding dog, later identified as Kea, near Nevada Telephone Cove and Red Hill roads shortly after 11:40 a.m. March 18. Kea survived the attack but was euthanized at The Animal Foundation several days later, according to local media citing LVMPD.

Police tape is pictured at a crime scene in Half Moon Bay, California, on January 24, 2023. Wayne Johnson, 76, of Spokane, Washington, was arrested after he stabbed his dog in the head and slashed her throat before leaving her for dead in the Nevada desert, police said.
Samantha Laurey / AFP/Getty

While local media reports say that police had to conduct several phone interviews with Johnson, who lives out of state, it was unclear at the time of publication why his arrest took nearly six months.

Newsweek reached out via email and Facebook on Wednesday to the LVMPD and The Animal Foundation for further information.

Police also received a call on March 18 from the woman who said she found a “large, brown dog” in a desert area in Laughlin. The caller said the dog had multiple injuries, including numerous stab wounds to the head and had her throat cut “at least twice.” The caller, whom police did not identify, said the dog was friendly but “appeared to be disoriented,” according to the arrest report.

Kea was transported for treatment and stabilized by veterinary staff at The Animal Foundation, but the dog required surgery and a feeding tube in her throat. After surviving for several days after surgery, Kea had to be euthanized due to the severity of her injuries.

The Animal Foundation staff found a microchip in Kea, which identified her owner as Johnson. LVMPD contacted him, and he told officers that he attacked his pet, police said.

After being told his dog survived and was stable after surgery, Johnson said to LMVPD officers “that it was too bad that they were wasting all that money on a dying dog,” the arrest report states.

Johnson told authorities that his dog was old, sick with cancer and had blood in her urine. However, The Animal Foundation later rejected his claims, saying their tests did not indicate Kea had cancer or urinary issues, according to local station FOX5.

Johnson said he took Kea on a trail hike near Nevada Telephone Cove Road, where he said they had “good” memories from previous hikes together. During that March trip, he told police, he tried to kill Kea by hitting her with a hammer, then slitting her throat. He also told officers that he grew up on a farm and had experience putting animals down, adding that he left when he thought he “finished the job,” according to the arrest report.

Johnson told police he would cooperate with their investigation but said he believed that he did nothing wrong and did not think he committed a crime.


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