Suspect sought in animal-cruelty case

Dog's owner arrested as police now try to track down alleged perpetrator of abuse

A videotaped incident shared on social media that caused rage and disgust among local and national animal lovers has taken a new turn.

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Saquiriauki S. “Serio” Mister (Photo provided)

Lexington Police Department officials on Thursday announced one arrest has been made in the case and that they finally identified the man thought to be responsible for an act of animal cruelty against a small dog last month at a town apartment complex.

On Oct. 16, the Lexington Police Department was notified through social media of an animal-cruelty incident that occurred at the Cedarcrest Village Apartments at 959 East Main St. Information shared to the police department’s popular Facebook page included several photographs and a Snapchat video showing a small white dog being kicked by an individual several times and then picked up and thrown down the stairs of the complex.

After an investigation and review of tips provided by the public through social media and Crimestoppers, an arrest warrant has been issued for Saquiriauki S. “Serio” Mister, 21, of Mississippi, on one felony count of ill-treatment of an animal, said Lexington Police Department spokesman Lt. Carroll Bledsoe Jr.

“It is believed that Serio has fled back to Mississippi during the investigation,” Bledsoe said Thursday. “Investigators from the Lexington Police Department are working with Mississippi authorities in his apprehension. He has been entered in NCIC (National Crime Information Center) with nationwide extradition.”

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Timothy Terell Mister (Photo provided)

The dog’s owner, Timothy Terell Mister, 34, of Lexington has been arrested and charged with obstruction of justice and misprision of a felony.

Mister, who previously denied any knowledge or involvement in the crime and had been uncooperative with investigators, originally was charged with maltreatment of an animal by Lexington County Animal Control after he failed to seek medical treatment of the dog as required by law. He was taken to the Lexington County Detention Center on Thursday where he was scheduled to appear before a bond court judge by the end of today.

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The victimized dog enjoyed the attention and affection of Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall recently. (Photo provided)

The female dog, who survived the incident apparently uninjured, remains in the county animal shelter pending the outcome of the case. It’s unlikely the dog will be returned to her owner unless he is found not guilty and sues to retrieve her.

Lexington Police Chief Terrence Green expressed his thanks to the public for its cooperation and tips, which enabled police investigators to identify and charge the suspect.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible, Bledsoe noted without providing details. Green on Thursday encouraged anyone with further information to contact investigators at (803) 359-6260, or through the Lexington Police Department Facebook page.

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