Alton Man Charged With Animal Abuse Speaks Out

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ALTON, IL. (KTVI) - The Alton man accused of dragging his puppy along a sidewalk like a stuffed animal on the end of the leash is speaking out.

Michael Thomas wants to tell his side of the story.  He says he thought dragging a dog is an appropriate form of training a puppy.

Thomas is charged with animal abuse and his puppy was taken from him by police.  The dog has been renamed Harper by Hope Animal Rescues.  Thomas had named the puppy Haley.

One witness told us Thomas was dragging the puppy repeatedly along an Alton sidewalk even though the dog collapsed several times.  The dog suffered sidewalk burns but is expected to be okay.

Thomas says that witness exaggerated the abuse.

"I apologize to everybody but I thought what I was doing was right," said Thomas.

Jackie Spiker with Hope Animal Rescues has placed the dog in an undisclosed foster home.  Spiker wishes states would create tougher penalties for animal abuse cases.

"I just wish there were more tools available to the general public to educate people on how to care for their pets and what responsible ownership means," said Spiker.

Spiker said a puppy should be trained with treats and tugs and not dragging.  She also recommended placing a leash on a puppy`s collar and letting it run around for a while.

"That way they won't freak out when you put a leash on them," she explained.

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