Thomas Elliot Huggins: Tampa man accused of strangling, cooking family dog makes first appearance

Mother found dog's ribs cooking on stove

TAMPA - A Tampa man accused of strangling, cooking and eating the family dog made an appearance before a judge Saturday morning. His bond was set to $10,000.

Nickloa Davis says she remembered watching her pit bull playing in the yard with her neighbor's puppy, Bandit. 

Watching a cell phone video, Davis enjoyed seeing the little dog jumping around and trying to get her pet's attention.

To suddenly hear that the seven-month old dog met a gruesome and untimely end has left her with a heavy heart.

"Shock.  Total shock," she said.  Davis, a resident of Aster Avenue in Tampa, lives next door to Thomas Elliot Huggins, 25, who was arrested on animal cruelty charges for strangling, cooking, and eating his pet puppy.

"I was speechless because the dog was always outside playing," said Davis.

Equally as stunned was John Pisacane, who gave Bandit to Huggins as a gift when his pit bull had a litter of puppies.

"That was one of my pups and right now I feel sick to my stomach," Pisacane said.

Tampa police said Huggins' mother called police when she found her son cooking the family dog's ribs in a pot on the stove. 

When officers arrived, they found that the puppy had been skinned and sliced into four pieces that were stored in the freezer.  Bandit's head was found in a trash can.

"The suspect in this case did not see anything wrong with killing the dog," said police spokeswoman Andrea Davis.  

"Obviously, you have to be concerned about someone who's capable of doing something like this what else they could be capable of," Davis said.

Huggins' mother told police her son has been behaving since he started smoking marijuana.  Huggins also became extremely religious, and would claim he was following orders from "the Lord," his mom told investigators.

Huggins is charged with a third degree felony, but many of the residents along Aster Avenue also own pets and are concerned that the suspect won't face stiff enough punishment.

"All of us around here love our animals," Pisacane said.  "I hope he gets what's coming to him."
 

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