On March 2, 2018 Jason Edward Hampton of Farmington, Mo. was arrested and charged with Animal Abuse – 2nd/Subsequent Offense Or By Torture And/Or Mutilation While Animal Was Alive { Felony E RSMo: 578.012 }. Bond was set at $10,000.00.

Jason Hampton

We see cases like this all the time whether they make it into the courts or not. But rarely do we see cases where officers are willing or able to investigate and write charges, and there’s a prosecutor that thinks there’s enough evidence to prosecute with. Sometimes authorities don’t take animal related crimes seriously at all.

Jason Hampton

But in Hampton’s case, he’s been investigated, charged, and on his way to court.

I suspect it’s because Hampton told on himself in some detail when questioned by officers- a story he’d already recited to others including the president of an animal rescue. Sounds like an easy win.

Whatever the case, kudos to Farmington and St. Francois County authorities. I think you rock and hope others will follow your example in the future.

__________________________________________________________

So what did Hampton actually do?

According to the probable cause statement the dog belonged to someone else. Hampton shot the dog, paralyzing him, and then hit him over the head with a hammer to make sure he was dead. Hampton then loaded the dog in a bag and dumped it in a ditch along side of Possum Hollow Road near Farmington.

The incident took place between Jan. 29 and Feb. 19.

But the dog wasn’t dead. He was alive and laid in that ditch starving, dehydrating, and in horrendous pain for a couple of weeks, alone.

Let that sink in. Even if you’re not an animal lover that’s really got to be shocking to consider.

According to the Daily Journal, Hampton did not inform the dog owner and even attempted to conceal what he had done.

A piece in the Riverfront Times said a local Farmington couple, John and Debbie Rotert, found Trooper on Feb. 19. Driving by, they just happened to see the dog lift his head. Stopping to check the situation the couple was shocked at what they found.

Remember I said Hampton had shot someone else’s dog? The owner was eventually found and it was discovered the dog’s name was Trooper.

By the time the Roterts found Trooper he had been in the ditch grievously wounded, paralyzed, without food and water for weeks suffering a Missouri winter. In addition to the aforementioned, he was covered in urine and feces to the point that his hind quarters were weeping sores where flesh had just rotted off his dying body.

The Roterts contacted Katrina Campbell, volunteer with Stray Paws Rescue in Farmington, seeking assistance. Campbell stated to KMOV4 that when Trooper was removed from the ditch he was “suctioned” to the ground.

“I was like, just give me a sign you’re not giving up yet,” Campbell remembers asking Trooper. “He lifted his head and he licked me on my cheek and I said I’m going to fight for you.”

Campbell being privy to the power of social media immediately started sending out requests for help. And she got it. Enter, Missouri K9 Friends.

Missouri K9 Friends took over and got Trooper to emergency veterinarians at VSS. Chances for Trooper did not look good for in the beginning.

The couple that originally found Trooper assumed, as most might, that he’d been hit by a car. That just didn’t sit right with Mandy Ryan, President of Missouri K9 Friends, for some reason.

So Ryan did a little checking around. It wasn’t long before people in Farmington were pointing Ryan in the direction of Jason Hampton.

Ryan confronted Hampton about the rumors she’d heard. Not only did he not deny it, he gave Ryan a detailed description about what had happened, and did so like it was no big deal, according to Ryan.

“He didn’t feel bad about hitting the dog in the head with a hammer, he just confessed it like it was nothing,” Ryan said.

From the best I can gather, Hampton shot Trooper, who he says, was trying to get at Hampton’s female dog. He stated he meant to shoot at Trooper’s feet but missed. The bullet struck the dog in the back of the neck paralyzing it. When Trooper didn’t immediately die Hampton used a hammer to strike the dog in the head, likely rendering him unconscious and leaving Hampton thinking he had killed the dog. Hampton then stuffed Trooper into a bag and dumped him in the ditch.

Ryan eventually went to the police with what she knew. They questioned Hampton.

Originally Hampton confessed to authorities and pled guilty to the charges. Later realizing his crime is a felony he changed his plea to not guilty.

In the months since the crime there have been hearings held, motions made and suppressed, subpoenas served, and all that fun, legal gallop the attorneys go through before the show begins. Most of the time the defendant will take a plea deal but from what I am told Hampton won’t cop to anything that includes a felony.

So a trial it is. The fun begins on March 12 at 9:00 a.m. and will run into March 13 at the St. Francois County Courthouse, 202 W Columbia St., Farmington, Missouri.

__________________________________________________________

So what happened to Trooper?

Well, he’s been true to his name.

In the months since Hampton’s assault on the dog, Trooper has received extensive medical care including physical therapy, water therapy, acupuncture and who knows what all.

In just a few months he’d made great progress. Dozens of people had stepped up to foster Trooper after reading his story.

Video’s like the following help spread the word online and on television news.

Video 1
Video 2

Thanks to 5 On Your Side News & KMOV4 News for the vids. They tell it better than I ever could.

As it always happens on such hard luck cases, hundreds of adoption applications were made on Trooper. One dog- so many choices.

As it happens, the family that began fostering Trooper last August permanently adopted him

It looks like he fit in nicely and is really loving life these days. Amazing that this animal has lived through so much and still loves so deeply.

Email prosecutor@sfcgov.org and ask for the maximum penalty for Jason Hampton or call 1-573-756-3623 to reach the St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney.

Get more details about Trooper, his recovery, and ongoing legal case at Team Trooper on Facebook.

Image of Trooper from Facebook page Team Trooper