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Man accused of killing a puppy in front of 3 children in Pulaski County

A man who police say killed a puppy in front of three children has been charged with a felony in Pulaski County.

Larry Benjamin "Benji" Caudill, 35, is accused of using a knife to cut off a 6-month-old Jack Russell terrier's tail, then squeezing the puppy in one hand before throwing or slamming it against concrete steps, according to a news release from the Pulaski County sheriff's office.

"The puppy bounced off the steps and into the front yard where it was retrieved by one of the children and died shortly thereafter," the release states.

The incident happened at a home on Ky. 235 in the Nancy community in western Pulaski County. It was reported Aug. 8.

Otis Moore of Somerset said in an interview that he contacted police after his 12-year-old daughter called him late that night, "crying hysterically" because Caudill, her mother's boyfriend, had killed the dog. It had been her pet.

Moore said his 9-year-old son and 13-year old daughter also lived at the home with Caudill and their mother, and all three children saw him kill the dog. He said the girls have since moved in with him.

Caudill was arrested Monday and charged with torture of a cat or dog with serious injury or death. He remained in the Pulaski County Detention Center on $10,000 cash bond Tuesday evening.

Caudill was charged under "Romeo's Law," named for the animal in a Pulaski County case in which a man was videotaped attacking his dog.

The case led the legislature in 2008 to increase the possible penalty for first-time torture of a dog or cat from a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, to a felony, punishable by one to five years, if the animal dies or is seriously injured.

The Pulaski County sheriff's office said detectives consulted with a veterinarian who said it is normal for a Jack Russell to have its tail cut off within five days of birth, before the tail bone has developed. Cutting the tail off an older dog "would be considered very painful and torturous," according to the release.