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Sheriff: Former Genesee Co. deputy charged, arrested for animal torture

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson speaks about a former employee arrested for animal torture...
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson speaks about a former employee arrested for animal torture in Saginaw County.(WNEM TV5)
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 2:08 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - A former corrections officer at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office has been charged with a seven-year felony after a grisly discovery in Saginaw County.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said Jacob Wilkinson adopted a Blue Star Service Dog in September of 2021. Swanson said at the time, Wilkinson worked with the Michigan Department of Corrections and he was assigned to Saginaw County.

Blue Star Service Dogs are trained by inmates and are then paired with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Swanson says investigators are unsure when it happened, but sometime between September and October of 2021, Wilkinson was trimming the dog’s nails when the dog nipped at him.

Swanson said Wilkinson then duct-taped the dog’s rear and front legs, as well as its muzzle before shooting it three times. The dog was dumped in Tittabawassee Township.

“That dog nipped at him, and he tortured it, and he killed it and he left it for dead,” Swanson said. “Never, did we know or even think he would torture and kill an animal like that.”

Swanson said when Wilkinson applied for a job with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, he never disclosed in his interview or to a psychologist that he had shot and tortured an animal. Wilkinson was hired on Jan. 31.

Swanson says investigators found out when the Saginaw County Road Commission discovered the dog’s body in a ditch. When a necropsy was performed, they found a chip.

Swanson received a call from Bonnie Kanicki, the director of Saginaw County Animal Care and Control, on April 21 about the case.

Wilkinson confessed everything to investigators. Swanson says he was immediately terminated.

Wilkinson worked for the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office for 42 days. Swanson said he takes full responsibility for the bad actions of people.

“Some people talk about blue line, there ain’t no blue line when it comes to right and wrong,” Swanson said. “When you see things, you cannot suppress them, you have to report them. It’s going to take all of us. We addressed it, we took care of it, he’s being held accountable. This isn’t the first time we’ve arrested our own.”

Wilkinson was arraigned on April 26 and is out on bond.