*Editor’s note: This story has been edited to reflect Case.net’s updated sentencing information.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A former Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputy will not* go to prison for killing a woman’s dog.
Thursday morning in Greene County Court, Zachary Cook pleaded guilty to three counts on animal abuse.
The judge sentenced him to four years in prison and five years supervised probation. But that sentence was suspended. Three counts of burglary were dismissed against Cook.
In January of last year, a woman Cook was dating told Springfield Police surveillance cameras at her apartment got video of Cook entering the apartment.
The woman said she could hear the dog whining and crying. An autopsy showed three of dog’s ribs were fractured and the dog had several internal injuries.
The autopsy also showed the dog had been abused before.
Former Lawrence County deputy charged in death of dog
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A man who recently resigned from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department is facing charges of burglary and animal abuse after the death of a woman’s dog.
Zachary Cook is charged with:
- Three counts of second-degree burglary, all felonies
- Two counts of misdemeanor animal abuse
- One count of felony animal abuse, 2nd offense
According to court documents, Springfield Police said a woman Cook was dating arrived at her apartment with Cook and found the woman’s dog dead on January 14, 2022.
Court documents stated surveillance cameras at the woman’s apartment captured video of Cook entering the apartment the previous day. (1/13/22) Sounds of the dog whining and crying could be heard in the video. Court records show the whining and crying stopped when the door was closed as Cook left the apartment.
An autopsy of the dog showed three of the dog’s ribs were fractured. There was also blood in the dog’s abdominal cavity and multiple lacerations to the liver.
The doctor said the dog likely died hours after being injured, and that the dog had been abused several times before.
Court documents accuse Cook of abusing the animal three times and of entering the woman’s apartment without her knowledge or consent.
The woman told police she gave Cook the code to her apartment so he could open the door when she was home, but she never told him he could come over when she was not present.
Investigators said Cook’s cell phone search history showed searches about animal abuse in Missouri and searches for whether shock could kill a dog.
The woman said she wanted to pursue charges. According to court documents, Cook did not say anything to the police about what happened.
Court documents also stated a past girlfriend of Cook’s said Cook killed her dog while they were dating.
Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay confirmed Cook worked as a deputy for the county. DeLay said Cook was out of town when the Sheriff’s Office learned about the charges against Cook. When Cook returned to work, DeLay said Cook resigned from his position.
DeLay said the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office does not have further comment on the case, since another agency, Springfield Police, are investigating, and the charges are filed in Greene County.
Cook is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on April 12, 2022.