BOONE COUNTY - Taylor Stout, a former groomer at a pet shop in Mexico, pleaded guilty Friday to animal abuse and received probation.
Stout, 26, was sentenced to one year in Boone County Jail, with suspended execution of sentenced, according to a release from the Audrain County Prosecutor's Office. She was placed on two years of supervised probation. Animal abuse is a class A misdemeanor in Missouri. Stout was originally charged with animal abuse by torture.
According to previous KOMU 8 reporting, Stout and co-defendant James Johns were employed at Downtown Pet Stop and were accused of abusing animals in July 2019. A probable cause statement said a customer told the business owner, Nancy Buck, that their dog was ill following a visit to the shop.
Buck called the police after watching surveillance video, which showed the two slamming a Yorkshire Terrier on the table in an effort to control the dog and holding the terrier down while they shook it by the ears.
The video also showed Stout lifting the dog over her head and slamming it onto the grooming table, which caused the terrier to lose consciousness.
Buck said she was out of town when the incident occurred, and that Stout told her that the dog had a seizure. The dog, Petunia, survived and lives with her family in Mexico.
“Animal abuse is a misdemeanor under Missouri law unless the State can show it was a deliberate act, with purpose or intention to cause injury or suffering by torture to the animal,” Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger said. “In this case, the video evidence shows a series of abusive actions taken in a short period of time. The video is shocking, and shows a callous and violent act. There’s no excuse for what happened – but the crime fits the facts. After full review of the evidence, the State couldn’t prove those two words, by torture, beyond a reasonable doubt – so the case remains a misdemeanor based on the way the law’s written.”
The case was heard in Boone county after a change of venue from Audrain County.
"Ms. Stout, you messed with the wrong dog…. these family members care deeply about this dog," Judge Kevin Crane said.
Conditions of the probation include two days of shock detention in the Boone County Jail, restitution of $270 to be paid to the victims, 200 hours of community service at a minimum of 8 hours per month. Stout also must complete Benchmark Animal Rehabilitative Curriculum and provide proof to the prosecuting attorney and the court.
If Stout violates any condition of her probation, the court may sentence her to serve up to the full year in jail.
Stout was ordered to not work in a field associated with animals and may not possess pets or animals beyond her current pets. She must also pay all costs of the case.
Johns has a hearing scheduled for June 14, according to online court records.