Due to the graphic nature of the video, WMBD will not be attaching the video of animal cruelty to this story.
PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — The man in a viral dog abuse video out of Dunlap is facing up to five years in prison for new felony charges.
Tuesday, 39-year-old Nicholas Prince was indicted for animal torture, a Class 3 felony, as well as animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor. Animal torture carries a two-to-five-year sentence.
“It was a pretty easy decision once we reviewed the police report and all the statements involved, as well the video footage,” said Peoria County State’s Attorney Jodi Hoos.
Prince’s bond was upgraded to $25,000 and will be taken into custody until his first court appearance.
In the graphic video, Prince is shown repeatedly beating and punching 13-month-old Mika, a feisty German Shepherd who loves belly rubs, for nearly a minute.
Prince was originally arrested on a misdemeanor offense, but as more information and the brutal nature of the abuse surfaced, Hoos said it justified adding a felony charge and expediting the case through the Peoria County Grand Jury.
Furthermore, because Prince was arrested on a misdemeanor, he was allowed to post bond before the State’s Attorney’s office could review the case.
“I think this was an easy case. The difficult part was he was arrested on the front end as a misdemeanor…Had this been a felony arrest the person would have remained in custody until we review the matter,” said Hoos.
Hoos compared animal abuse cases to those involving small children.
“They can’t speak for themselves. An animal can’t say ‘that hurt my leg’ or that hurt me or I’m dying, just like a small child can’t. I think that’s where society really needs to step in protect them, and I think that’s probably why we’ve had the outpouring of anger and frustration in the past few weeks,” she said.
Armed with signs calling for “justice for Mika”, about 20 protestors gathered outside Peoria County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon. The protestors said they are pleased with the upgraded charges, but want Mika removed from her current living situation.
Sammy Mogler, who organized the protest, said Mika is not safe at Prince’s ex-girlfriend’s home in Dunlap, where the disturbing video took place.
“I’m strictly here for the dog… We’re trying to get justice for Mika, trying to get her house of that house. Mika can’t speak, so we’re here to speak for her,” said Mogler.
Ney Castro came to the protest with Mika’s parents, two German Shepherds. He said he sold Mika to Prince last year and concerned for her welfare.
“I know today some more charges were brought against him and I want to make sure that charges are brought against the other owner. I think she deserves to be charged as well and I think the dog should be taken at least to a foster home until she’s put in a better home,” said Castro.