Three Texas A&M Corps of Cadet students have been charged with illegal dumping after they admitted to slapping a baseball cap on the bloodied carcass of a dog and propping it up on firewood on the university band's drill field in early March.
Sterling Hampe, Garrett Kale and Atticus Johnson, all 18, told TAMU police they found the dog — already dead — on a road in Bryan, according to a police officer's affidavit provided by the Brazos County Attorney's Office. The men face up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine (wink, wink).
The affidavit reveals a startling lack of curiosity on the part of the university police, who seemed to have immediately bought the men's stories that they did not kill the dog, although they could not remember the name of the road where they said they'd found it.
There's also little explanation for why a hanger was placed around the dog's neck; why a ball cap duct-taped and signed with the initials "BQ" was placed on its head; and why it was dripping in unspecified "bodily fluids."
University police discovered the dog's body after a witness reported seeing two people placing the dog on Joe T. Haney Field in the early morning hours of March 7, and then walking quickly away.
Here's how the first responding officer described the scene:
I observed a white and brown in color dog weighing approximately 40-50 pounds laying in the middle of the field. The dog was propped up on several pieces of firewood. The dog also was dressed up with a Texas A&M baseball cap on, this hat is commonly issued [to] freshman students in the Corps of Cadets. On this hat was a piece of duct tape with the letters BQ written in sharpie on the tape. The dog also had a coat hanger around its head/neck area. The dog was covered in blood and dripping bodily fluids. The dog smelled and looked as if it had been dead for several days or longer. It was unclear on how the dog was killed.
Our favorite part, though, is when the second officer arrived. This diligent investigator mentioned that, the day before, he had noticed a vehicle in a campus parking garage "with a suspicious black tarp" on the roof, concealing something that "smelled like death." The officer stated that "at the time, he did not have a reason to look into the tarp."
As it turned out, the vehicle — sans tarp — was parked in the same garage the morning the dog's body was found, and police were able to trace it to Johnson. Meanwhile, Corps of Cadets lieutenants received an email naming all three men as possible suspects, and the email was forwarded to TAMU police, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also states that Johnson told university police on March 23 that he and his bros "had all just gone out to eat in Bryan...They then observed the dead dog laying on the side of the road...All 3 subjects were unsure of what road they were on."
We can sorta understand that. Barely a day goes by without us just rolling up on a dead, semen-and-or-urine-and-or-snot-covered dog carcass festooned with a coat hanger. Like, if we only had a nickel, you know? No way we could ever remember exactly where we've encountered such a common item.
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We've been unable to reach Messrs. Hampe, Kale and Johnson — a woman who answered the phone at the Hampe residence said we'd have to speak with the lad's lawyer, but she would not provide a name. Then she hung up.
We were unable to turn up attorney information for Kale or Johnson, nor have we been able to contact them or any family members.
The Corps of Cadets has not commented to any media outlets.
Good to know that the possibility of animal cruelty is being taken so seriously by campus and county authorities. Way to send a strong message.