A West Side man ordered his dog to maul other animals last year in his backyard while he filmed the attacks and posted them on social media, according to Cook County prosecutors.
Richard Eames, 24, was initially charged with four misdemeanors in the case, but prosecutors on Saturday upped his charges to felony animal cruelty, Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Conniff said at his initial hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
The charges stem from July 2017, when Eames, a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang, was heard on a video posted on his Facebook account encouraging his dog to attack a cat, Conniff said. The video starts with the cat clinging to the vinyl siding of Eames’s West Garfield Park home. When the cat fell to the ground, the dog, a mixed-breed Jack Russell terrier and pit bull named Shorty, mauled the cat before it escaped and ran through a fence.
During the attack, Eames said “that motherf—er holding on for his life, boy,” and “this going to be ugly,” Conniff said. He called the dog a “good boy” as it attacked the cat in the video, which was also posted on his YouTube account.
Five days later, Eames posted another video on YouTube, also from his backyard, Conniff said. In that video, Eames was laughing as he told his dog to “get that b—-” as it mauled and killed a different cat.
Nine months after the first two attacks, Eames posted another video in April on his Instagram account, this time showing his dog eating a dead possum as he eggs it on, Conniff said.
An animal rights activist saw the videos and called the Cicero Police Department, which figured out the videos were shot in Chicago and told Chicago Police detectives.
The CPD Gang Investigations Animal Crime Team investigated the videos, and on Tuesday went to his home, Conniff said. They saw the yard and porch matched those in the videos and arrested Eames.
In custody, Eames admitted that his dog killed a possum and a cat, and that his neighbor’s cat got away, Conniff said.
Associate Judge Sophia Atcherson on Saturday set Eames’s bail at $5,000. If he posts the $500 required for his release, Eames can’t possess any animals, take any intoxicating substances or own any firearms, Atcherson ordered. He also can’t film or post videos of animals.
Eames’s misdemeanor case, in which he posted a $750 bond, will be dismissed on Monday as prosecutors pursue the felony case.