Kicked dog’s owner to suspect: ‘I love you’

Crime

PARCHMENT, Mich. (WOOD) — The owner of the dog seen in surveillance being violently kicked says she bears no ill will toward the suspect in the case.

Sara Stafford, 33, was arrested following the incident Monday at a home on Keyes Drive near Glenguile Avenue in Parchment.

Police said surveillance video shows Stafford kicking the family’s small dog repeatedly, at times sending the animal flying.

==Warning: Some viewers may find the surveillance video included below disturbing.==

Stafford then charged into the home and assaulted a woman inside, according to police.

The suspect was charged Wednesday with felony home invasion, misdemeanor animal cruelty and misdemeanor aggravated assault. If convicted as charged, the crimes could send her to prison for more than a decade.

Kristie Heacock said she was the victim. She came to the door of her home after hearing the dog yelping only to have Stafford immediately attack her, punching her repeatedly. Heacock said she lost consciousness for a time before the attack suddenly stopped and Stafford took off.

Before the incident, Stafford said, Heacock was her best friend.

“We were together every day,” Heacock told News 8 Wednesday as tears welled up in her eyes. “She was my best friend. She knew everything about me.”

Heacock said she believes the attack was prompted by unfounded suspicions that she was having an intimate relationship with a man Stafford had been seeing.

The violence, Heacock said, is out of character for Stafford.

“I just want her to get help,” Heacock said. “There’s obviously something going on with her emotionally and she needs help.”

While the law sees the home invasion as the most serious alleged offense in the case, Heacock said the abuse to her dog Snoopy was the worst of it. She said she likely would not have requested prosecution had it not been for the abuse to her pet.

“He loved her,” Heacock said of Snoopy. “He didn’t do anything. He literally went outside to greet her and got the tar beat out of him and that’s not acceptable to me… He knows her as somebody he was safe with and that’s the reason I filed charges.”

Snoopy was treated by a vet who said the dog suffered internal bruising, Heacock said.

Stafford is a nursing assistant and a mother to young children, according to Heacock.

The suspect remained jailed Wednesday night, though she could be released if she posts a $50,000 cash or surety bond.

Heacock shared this message for her longtime friend:

“I hope the best for you,” she said. “Always know that you’re my other half and I love you.”

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