JAY, Okla. — A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding jurisdictional issues led to the dismissal of a court case involving a Grove man accused of drowning four puppies.

Denver Kyle Cooper, 32, charge of cruelty to animals in Delaware County District Court was dismissed on March 31, after Cooper’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss on grounds the state court lacked jurisdiction to press charges.

Denver Cooper

Cooper is a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribe and his alleged wrongdoing occurred within the Cherokee Nation Reservation.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Cherokee Nation reservation was never disestablished and prohibits Oklahoma prosecutors from prosecuting wrongdoing on Cherokee Nation land. Cases dismissed from state court are generally but not always picked up by Cherokee Nation Tribal Court.

A necropsy report showed the puppies at the time of their death had “milk in their stomachs and were also infested with fleas,” according to an arrest affidavit.  

After initially saying the puppies were stillborn, Cooper admitted to “getting rid of the puppies and throwing them into the creek while they were alive”  because he “thought something would just eat them.”