Animal cruelty charges filed against Mishawaka man accused of beating dog with boat oar

A Mishawaka man accused of beating a relative’s dog to death earlier this week is on probation for a 2013 battery charge.

Joshua Prior, 31, was charged Thursday with killing a domestic animal and domestic violence animal cruelty, both level 6 felonies, and cruelty to an animal, a class A misdemeanor, according to court documents.

Prior went to a relative’s home in the 100 block of E. Woodside Drive in South Bend late Tuesday night and asked for money from the relative so that Prior could buy heroin, according to court documents. The relative refused and the relative’s Terrier, Minnie, began barking while Prior was at the home.

Prior became angry and he yelled at the dog to “shut the (expletive) up or I’ll kill you,” according to court documents. Then he picked up a boat oar that was in the basement of the home and began hitting the dog with it. Eventually, Prior stopped, asked the relative if the relative wanted to “see how irate (Prior) can get” and left the home.

While police were searching for him, Prior called another relative and admitted to killing Minnie, according to court documents. Officers eventually found Prior in the area of Ewing and Michigan streets and arrested him.

Both relatives told police that they are afraid of Prior, according to court documents.

In October 2013, Prior was convicted of battery in which the victim suffered serious bodily injury, according to court documents. He is currently on probation for that charge.

Prior is being held on $30,000 corporate surety or $3,000 cash bond at the St. Joseph County Jail, according to court documents. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21.

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