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Springfield Police: Man hit dog with aluminum baseball bat; pet reunited with owners

Officers are looking for the owners of a female terrier mix dog after a man was seen beating the animal with a baseball bat Friday morning, Springfield Police said. (SPD)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Police have reunited a female terrier mix dog with its owners after a man was seen beating the animal with a baseball bat Friday morning, Springfield Police said.

A neighbor called police just after 10 a.m. to report seeing "a man chasing and hitting a dog with a baseball bat" on D Street, police said.

An animal control officer found the terrier in an alley with "a large bleeding laceration on her skull," according to police.

The officer took the dog to the Springfield Emergency Veterinary Hospital. The dog "is being treated for her injuries and monitored for any brain or other internal injuries," police said.

Veterinary staff are optimistic the dog can recover from the injury.

“Being reunited with her people would help her condition,” said Officer Brian Austin, the Springfield Animal Control officer who responded to the call.

The dog named Lilith was reunited with its owners Friday afternoon, police said.

Police investigated and arrested Ryan Christopher Kastrava, 38, of Springfield.

Police said "Kastrava chased and pursued the fleeing dog into blackberry bushes in an alley behind his home in what appears to be an anger driven attack on the animal. Kastrava alleged the small female dog attacked his chickens after allegedly digging into his chicken coup. Kastrava told police the dog had killed two of his chickens, motivating his rage, but the police investigation revealed all of the five caged chickens appeared free from injury."

Kastrava faces a charge of Second Degree Animal Abuse. "These charges could change if the terrier’s condition takes a turn for the worse, but veterinary staff are optimistic for full recovery," police said.

Kastrava told investigators "he struck the dog when she turned on him and bit him," police said, "however their investigation determined the only injuries on Kastrava were those created by blackberry thorns scratches he sustained while pursuing the fleeing dog deep into blackberry bushes in the alley around the corner from his home. Police believe Kastrava struck the dog with an aluminum baseball bat after the dog came out of hiding after he chased her into deep into the blackberry bushes."

A man who claimed to be Kastrava called the newsroom and gave his side of events.

He declined to leave contact information or provide an on-camera interview.

The man said the dog came onto his property and started killing his chickens. He said it was never his intention to hurt the dog. He said was trying to get the dog into a cage he had for his own dog when the dog attacked and bit him. He said the owner of the dog is his neighbor, and that he's called his neighbor to let him know what happened. He also said he went to Urgent Care to get a tetanus shot and has a puppy of his own that he loves.

Springfield Police are using funds from the CHETT Pet Fund to pay for the treatment of the terrier. Donations to the CHETT Pet Fund can be made in person at the Springfield Justice Center.

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