Austin Corey Pierson

GREAT FALLS- A man has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty after killing a puppy.

Court documents say a woman reported that her coworker received a call about her puppy was chewing on her boyfriend’s headphones, and that he was going to kill the puppy. 

The woman said her coworker left to go home for the puppy, and when she returned she said the puppy was taken to the vet and is dead.

The boyfriend was later named as Austin Pierson.

A receptionist at the vet confirmed to police that there was a puppy that was brought in beaten to the extent of passing away.

Police were informed by the receptionist that the owner of the puppy is the daughter of a Vet Tech at the office who wanted to speak with police.

When the Vet Tech called, she said that the puppy was brought in by her daughter and that Pierson called her daughter at work and told her to “come get your dog before I kill her.”

She was called again a few minutes later by her daughter saying the puppy was choking and the puppy was rushed in for vet care.

Police spoke to the Vet Tech’s daughter and court documents say she confirmed what her mother said and added that she rushed the puppy to the vet even though she knew the dog was already gone.

When Pierson later talked to police he told them he came home from lunch and found the puppy chewing on his new Xbox headset, stating that he just got angry and admitted to hitting the puppy with the headset, breaking it into several pieces.

Pierson also admitted to kicking the puppy in the ribs before pointing to its kennel downstairs where the puppy then went.

By the time he went downstairs with another dog, Pierson says the puppy was down.

During a necropsy by the Vet Tech, it was discovered the puppy’s rib had been broken and had punctured a lung.

Court documents say the Vet Tech later called police again to tell them that the other dog was at the vet with a broken leg, and that the dog was healthy when she had seen it the previous Friday.

The Vet Tech said after bringing the puppy in, her daughter contacted her again and told her she noticed the other dog was not bearing any weight on its back left leg and that it seemed in pain when she tried to touch it. The daughter was then told to bring the dog in for an exam.

An exam was done and x-rays were taken and it was determined the dog had a fracture to the growth plate on its left femur and the dog was referred to another animal hospital for orthopedic surgery.

The Vet Tech added that her daughter later confided in her and said Pierson admitted that he was responsible for hurting both the dogs.

During that same timeframe, court documents say Pierson called the animal control office and admitted to an animal control officer that he had beat the dogs with the headset and kicked the puppy in the ribs.

The next day Pierson went into the animal hospital and requested to visit the dog.

A receptionist at the animal hospital asked what happened and why the dog was there, Pierson telling her the dog had “chewed his headphones”, “I didn’t think I hit him that hard” and “ I feel bad.”

The receptionist asked another staff member if Pierson was allowed to visit the dog and was told that he was absolutely not allowed to unless escorted by an animal control officer or police officer.

When the information was relayed to Pierson, court documents say he left without incident and has not contacted animal control to set up any visitations.

Austin Corey Pierson has been charged with two counts of aggravated animal cruelty.