A Niagara Falls man has been charged with stabbing a dog to death in an attack outside a gas station and convenience store in the 600 block of 19th Street.
Sammy Medina Jr., 49, 1604 Niagara Ave., was charged with aggravated animal cruelty and second-degree menacing, both felonies.
The entire incident was captured on video by store security cameras. Falls Police Animal Control Officer Dave Bower said he was called to the scene for a report of "a dog that had been stabbed and was clinging to life."
Police said the dog's owner, a 49-year-old man, arrived at the store around 9:19 p.m. Thursday. The video shows him tying the dog to a post at the corner of the store parking lot and then going inside to shop.
Medina can been seen in the video driving a silver Ford Fusion into the store parking lot and stopping near the dog. As the dog owner comes out of the store, he and Medina appear to begin arguing.
"The dog's owner said (Medina) was complaining about the dog being tied up," Bower said. "You can see them exchanging words."
Bower said as a woman walked past the mastiff mix breed dog, the animal slipped its collar and began to run. The dog's owner then grabbed the animal and attempted to get him back on his leash.
"The suspect then returned to his car and grabs a really big knife," Bower said. "Then he starts to walk toward the dog's owner."
As Medina, wielding a knife, approaches the dog owner, the animal can be seen on the video turning his attention toward the potential attacker and getting between the two men.
"The dog goes toward the guy with the knife," Bower said, "and then he just buried the knife in the dog."
One officer, who was at the scene and viewed the video, said Medina's attack on the dog "appeared to be depraved and sadistic."
Bower said when he arrived at the scene the dog was "barely alive." It died before it could be transported for medical care.
"I've dealt with this dog before," Bower said. "He was sweet. He was never aggressive with me. This was senseless."
After stabbing the dog, in its left side, and leaving it for dead, the video shows Medina getting back in his car and driving away. Patrol officers, who recognized Medina, found him a short time later in the 1000 block of 15th Street.
The officers found the bloody knife, used to attack the dog, inside Median's car.
"This didn't have to happen," Bower said. "(Medina) had every opportunity to leave and he didn't."