Russell Files was accused of animal cruelty after his neighbor's dog was caught in a trap on Files' property. (Source: El Mirage Police Department)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A judge has dismissed an animal cruelty case against a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee from El Mirage.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Margaret Mahoney granted the state's request to dismiss without prejudice the case against Russell Files. Files still faces federal cruelty charges. That case is scheduled to go to trial in November.
Files, 44, was arrested Jan. 8 after police found his neighbor's dog caught in a trap Fiiles said he set it to keep the animal out of his yard, authorities said.
That prompted the Animal Defense League of Arizona to request the USDA to investigate Files.
His arrest followed a lengthy investigation that started Dec. 18, 2012, when El Mirage police found a 2-year-old Australian cattle dog covered in blood and entangled in the trap on Files' property.
Police said it appeared the dog had been baited into the trap because about two feet away there was an animal skull still containing some hair and flesh.
The dog, named Zoey, lost 17 teeth trying to chew her way out of the trap, officers said. The dog's gums were split open and her jawbone was exposed on both sides.
Files told police he set the traps intentionally to catch his neighbor's dog, which had been repeatedly wandering around his home.
Files is an agent of Wildlife Services, a program of the USDA.
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