Man arrested for beating barking dog with a baseball bat - WSMV Channel 4

Man arrested for beating barking dog with a baseball bat

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A Murfreesboro man who has been in trouble before for taking extreme measures to try and quiet a barking dog in his neighborhood, was locked up again a few days ago. This time he is accused of beating a neighbor's dog with a baseball bat.

Polo, a 7-month-old border collie-shepherd mix is timid now around strangers.

After what happened to him Friday night, you can understand why.

"His eye - he has like a cut and on top of his head he has a big knot on it," said Quintavius Nelson, the dog's owner.

Nelson's neighbor Keith Swafford, 63, of 711 Lee St., is accused of beating the dog with a baseball bat.

"I almost came to tears," Nelson said.

Another neighbor, Victor Gillihan was playing video games with his son when he heard the dog barking. When he came outside he couldn't believe his eyes.

"I noticed he (Swafford) had a baseball bat, and then he raised it in the air and started hitting the dog multiple times," Gillihan said.

Swafford was arrested for felony cruelty to animals.

Swafford admitted he lost his temper because the dog wouldn't stop barking. According to a Murfreesboro police arrest report, after the beating he calmly walked back to his residence and went inside.

Officer Dave Norton was sent to investigate. Norton said before he had an opportunity to tell Swafford why he was there, he confessed. 

"The defendant stated, 'I'm sorry, I got mad because the dog was barking all the time, and (I) hit it with the ball bat,'" Norton wrote in the arrest report. "The dog appeared very shaken and was trembling."

Swafford said he has apologized to the family.

"I'm the type of person - I don't accept apologizes," Nelson said. "It's animal cruelty."

This is not the first time Swafford has had a run-in with neighbors.

"He's a crazy, bitter old man," Gillihan said. "We've had several confrontations with each other. In the past he also pulled a gun on me on my front porch."

That was in March 2011. Swafford was arrested for aggravated assault and public intoxication after pulling an air-powered rifle on Gillihan, while demanding he make his dogs be quiet. He ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge and received an 11-month, 29-day suspended sentence.

Swafford is scheduled to appear in court on the animal cruelty charges Feb. 12, 2013.

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