"It’s unimaginable that something like that could happen, I’m an animal lover I have two dogs myself," says animal lover Jessica Mounts.
Few details have been released, but Chattanooga police working in conjunction with McKamey Animal Center say charges will likely come soon for a man accused of beating his dog to death.
"All I can tell you at this point is that it was a small dog and it did involve the death of that small dog. It was a very disturbing case for everyone involved, due to the severity of the case," said Tiffany Newcome, Director of Animal Services with McKamey Animal Center.
"We are taking this quite seriously. Dogs are citizens of our city also, so we are going to investigate this crime just like we do with any other crime," added Sgt. Corliss Cooper of the Chattanooga Police Department.
Newcome says aggravated animal cruelty carries stiff penalties. "The aggravated cruelty charge would be a class E felony if convicted. Anything intentional or more severe that leads to the death can be considered aggravated."
Newcome says luckily, she sees many cases of cruelty and neglect that have happier endings.
"On average we get about 4-5 neglect calls a week. Normally they are very simple, minor offenses that we can work out through education with the person."
As for the St. Elmo case, residents hope the punishment is severe.
"There’s not enough reprecussions for people abusing animals, it is kind of slipped under the rug," said Mounts.
"I think cruelty to animals is indicative of a much larger problem. It’s a much too serious thing to let go," added animal lover Leah Clett.