Man, 67, Shares Sorrow After Dog Killed in Attack: 'She Was All I Needed'

A 67-year-old man shared his sorrow after a stranger kicked his beloved dog, sending it into the air and leaving it to die on the side of the road in a brutal and random attack.

John Hickey was walking his dog, Alice, in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood on Saturday afternoon when a man confronted him and demanded his jacket, police said.

Hickey pepper-sprayed the man and when the suspect backed away he attempted to leave the City Hall Park area with his Jack Russell Terrier.

"As the victim was walking away, the suspect ran up behind him and kicked his dog so hard she flew into the air," the Seattle Police Department said in a statement on Monday. "The victim was also pushed to the ground in the process and sustained minor injuries. When he stood up to go to his dog, he could see she was deceased."

Describing the attack to Q13 News, Hickey said: "I heard pounding of feet and I turned around and he was running full speed at us and I didn't have time to really do anything. I mean I had her on the leash and he came running towards her, he knocked me down and he kicked her so hard that she went up in the air, fell down on her head and started hemorrhaging."

Hickey said as soon as Alice hit the concrete, he knew his companion of 14 years didn't have much time left. She died in his arms minutes later, the outlet reported.

"She thought everybody liked her and she was just proud of that. And the most horrible thing, when she died she gave me a look ... it just was like she was confused that anyone would do something like that to her," he said.

"She was all my family. She got me through days when I literally don't think I would've gotten up in the morning. Except I knew she needed me and she knew that I needed her," Hickey added. "She would cuddle up and wrap her arms around my neck. She's all I had - and I'm not complaining ... that was all I had. I mean, she was all I needed."

A 29-year-old suspect was later identified and arrested by police on Sunday evening, less than a block from where the crimes occurred, the Seattle Police Department said.

He was booked into King County Jail for first-degree animal cruelty and attempted second-degree robbery, but in a judgement made on Tuesday, a judge released the suspect and decided not to set bail, according to Q13.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office had reportedly asked Judge Marcus Naylor to hold the suspect on $25,000 bail and find probable cause for felony animal cruelty. The judge ruled that there was probable cause for second-degree animal cruelty, which is a gross misdemeanor.

Seattle Police objected to the man's release, describing him as "aggressive, assaultive and destructive," according to KIRO7.

He was later identified as Courtney J. Williams, a homeless man living in a nearby encampment, the Post Millennial reported.

Prosecutors said they are continuing to pursue the case: "We're not going to ignore this case ... to have this kind of abuse against an animal and to know it's happening at a time when there's a rise in animal cruelty cases, it's really sickening," Casey McNerthney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office told Q13.

In a statement to the outlet, King County District Court Chief Presiding Judge Susan Mahoney said she "understood the outrage many folks in our community feel with such incidents" and noted that a charging decision has not yet been made.

She added that the suspect had no known criminal history and no history of failing to appear for court. He is set to return to court for the prosecutor's charging decision, which is scheduled for June 3.

Newsweek contacted the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for comment.

Jack Russell Terrier
File photo: A Jack Russell Terrier seen at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on December 17, 2019, in London, England. A 14-year-old Jack Russell died after the pet was kicked and hurled into the air in a brutal and random attack in Seattle. Mike Marsland/Getty Images