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South Jordan man charged with killing puppy

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SOUTH JORDAN — A man arrested in March for allegedly killing his 8-month-old puppy has now been formally charged.

Michael Anthony Fario, 25, of South Jordan, was charged last week in 3rd District Court with torture of a companion animal, a third-degree felony; and obstruction of justice, a class A misdemeanor.

On March 25, police were called to Fario's home by his stepfather. He told officers that "he has observed Fario punching Pip (his dog) repeatedly with closed fists" and on one occasion "heard a 'thudding' sound of punching" after the dog had peed on Fario's bed, according to charging documents.

After not seeing or hearing the dog for several days, the stepfather checked his home surveillance cameras and found the dead dog was placed inside a garbage can outside, the charges state.

Fario told investigators that "he had issues with Pip peeing on his bed every day for the last several days, so he 'smacked' and 'spanked' the dog," according to court documents.

Although Fario noticed the dog "acting strange" and not eating or drinking in the days leading up to its death, he did not call a veterinarian, the charges state. When he discovered the dog had died, he put it "in a trash bag in the outside garbage," court documents state.

An autopsy determined the dog suffered fractures to its ribs and liver, and had severe trauma to its thoracic and abdominal cavities.

Police said Fario had the Australian shepherd for six months before its death.

He originally told his family the dog had run away, and then told them he returned it to the person from whom he purchased the dog, according to police.

Fario was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on a warrant on Monday. He was scheduled to make an initial appearance in court on Wednesday.

His mother has already submitted a letter to the court asking that her son be released from jail so he can continue drug treatment. Fario has struggled with drug addiction since he was a teenager, the letter states.

Fario needs to be held accountable for what he did, his mother wrote, "but I don’t believe Michael is a danger to anyone. He acknowledges he should never own a pet again, at least until he has dealt with his anger & addiction issues. I believe Michael needs intensive counseling and classes geared toward drug addiction & anger management to deal with his problem. I know he is not an evil person.

"I know Michael is in extreme pain right now as he sits in jail and comes off methadone," the letter continues. "If released, I would ensure that Michael stays confined to our home until his trial date and that he does not go around any animals."