The Conway Police Department has released more information regarding a Dec. 10 incident that has led to the first cruelty to an animal charge in Faulkner County since the offense was upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony in 2009.
According to the information released Thursday, 38-year-old Eddie Lee Jordan Jr. was identified as a suspect in the days after Nini, a female border collie mix dog, was found injured in the yard of the Patton Circle home that Jordan was staying in.
According to the report, a resident of the Patton Circle home told officers Dec. 15 that Jordan had been staying with her and her 13-year-old daughter since "around Thanksgiving." During this time, the resident said, Jordan’s work schedule allowed him to return home at either 4 p.m or 7 p.m., while the resident and her child usually returned at 9 p.m.
The resident told police that "Jordan was not really fond of the dog," but that he had never exhibited violence toward the dog or herself or her daughter.
A witness who lived in the area told a different story, according to the report.
"(The witness) told me that for about a week and half (the witness) had heard loud thuds followed by Nini howling," the officer stated in his report. "They said Nini’s howling would increase from a shrill yelp to long, intense howls ... (the witness) said it almost sounded like a woman screaming."
This witness and one other person told the officers that the sounds were only heard when Jordan was alone in the home.
The witness told officers that she had decided Dec. 10, after hearing more "thuds and Nini crying in pain," to call police the next time she heard the dog howling in pain. At about 8:30 p.m., this witness found the dog lying in a yard and not moving, and called police.
When officers arrived arrangements were made to have Conway Animal Welfare officers collect the injured dog. The report states that the resident was told by Jordan on the night of Dec. 10 that he didn’t know how the dog was injured. The resident also said that she had received a cell phone text message from Jordan at about 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 in which Jordan claimed that the dog had defecated inside the house and was "sitting in the kitchen looking guilty." In a text message conversation that followed, according to the report, Jordan told the resident that the dog had ran away when he let it outside.
Thomas Cabantac, a veterinarian who examined the dog, reported that the injuries to the dog’s head were "concurrent with a blunt-force trauma to the head, i.e. closed fist to the muzzle or broom stick, causing a concussion with a severe maxillary (upper jaw) fracture." Cabantac also reported observing a bruised and swollen eye and bruising to the dog’s abdomen. Mending the dog’s jaw required that it be wired shut for a month.
"The surgeries were not provided for in the city budget, so a nonprofit group had paid for them," the report states, and Cabantac provided a bill in the event that a conviction would result in court-ordered restitution.
When questioned by officers who met him at his work place and asked him to come to the PD on Dec. 17, Jordan was unable to provide an explanation for the dog’s injuries.
"I explained to Jordan that I did not know what had happened to cause him to injure the dog, but that if the dog had attacked him or if the injuries were the result of some type of explainable action, that this was the time for him to tell me," the officer stated in his report. "I told him that the dog could not tell me what happened, and that it was up to him to let me know.
"Jordan began to stare at the floor again and was slowly shaking his head back and forth. He thought for several seconds and then finally said, ‘Y’all all done got me tagged for all this ... so y’all just gonna ... go and and do what y’all gotta do.’ ... He then (asked) what the charge and fine would be and asked where to go pay it. I explained to Jordan that the charge that would be sought, if he was unable to provide some explanation, would be a felony charge.
"He then thought for a moment, then said, ‘I guess I better get a lawyer then.’"
Jordan was released after this interview. On Dec. 21 Circuit Judge David Reynolds signed off on the felony charge of aggravated cruelty to a dog, cat or horse. Jordan was arrested later that day at his workplace. He was released on a $2,500 cash bond on Dec. 23. His trial date has been set for April 28. As Jordan has multiple felony convictions, he has been charged as a lower level habitual offender, according to 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Marcus Vaden.
The dog is being housed at the Conway Animal Welfare Unit.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)