BRENTWOOD, Mo. – A Brentwood man is charged with animal abuse after killing his dog and then biting a responding police officer.

The incident happened in the 8700 block of Brentwood Place on Wednesday. Investigators said the 49-year-old man bit a police officer while wearing only a towel after killing his family’s dog. Neighbors reportedly recorded the tragedy and gave the video to police. They said the man recently lost his mother and was suffering from mental illness.

The man is charged with animal abuse, resisting arrest, and assault. Authorities would not confirm what led up to the incident.

Health professionals are encouraging people to seek help to prevent tragedies like this from happening.

“Depending on how acute the situation is, sometimes you may need to call 911 and get the police or ambulance involved,” said Dr. Erick Messias, chair of the department of psychiatry at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. “You should get the person to the emergency room. Right now, in St. Louis, there are several urgent care places that you can go and be seen pretty fast.”

In addition, there are services and programs in Missouri and Illinois.

“Data suggests that anywhere 30 to 50 million people have suicide thoughts, and hundreds of people experience depression,” said Dr. Bart Andrews, a chief clinical officer for Behavioral Health Response. “Violence is a very rare occurrence among people with mental illness. So the first thing I caution people who are suffering from mental illness, they are more likely to be victims of crimes than they are to be perpetrators of crimes.”

FOX 2 reached out to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office about the case, and they only said mental health is a highly charged issue in the eyes of the court, and they could not speculate on issues concerning an open case.

“You can call 988 and be hooked up with a therapist or mental health clinic; that number is very helpful,” Messias said.