Dog owner sues Nye County alleging false animal abuse charges
A man is suing Nye County alleging he was wrongfully arrested on an animal abuse charge.
A man is suing Nye County alleging that his civil rights were violated after he was wrongfully arrested and jailed on an animal abuse charge.
Beary Bocivis Smith called the Nye County sheriff’s office on June 4, 2021, to report that his South African Mastiff, Misty, had died in the back of his truck, according to the lawsuit filed this month.
Deputy Cody Murphy arrested Smith on a charge of torturing, injuring or abandoning an animal, but the charge was dropped on Jan. 31, 2022. Smith paid $1,500 of a $10,000 bond to be released from custody after he was arrested, but it was unclear how long he was in jail.
Nye County District Attorney Brian Kunzi said he had not been served the lawsuit as of Tuesday, and sheriff’s officials said they could not comment on pending litigation.
Smith, who lives in Round Mountain, is being represented by Zachary Clayton, who filed the lawsuit on Feb. 8 against the county, former District Attorney Chris Arabia, Murphy, and animal control supervisor Susan Ryhal. “
“He’s a family guy, and he loves his animals,” Clayton said. “This is a very unfortunate situation.”
Smith said he learned on June 4, 2021, that Misty, 10, needed surgery for several cancerous tumors, and he found a veterinarian in Pahrump who could see her the next morning. Smith stopped multiple times during the nearly four-hour drive on June 4 to check on the dog. His wife and two young children joined him on the drive.
“Misty was provided a spot in the cabin of the truck and rode most of the way to Pahrump,” Clayton wrote in the lawsuit.
After stopping at the Area 51 Alien Center in Amargosa Valley, Misty climbed into the bed of the truck, where she died before Smith’s family arrived in Pahrump.
“We fed her, we walked her, we took care of her, we loved her,” Smith said. “We gave her treats and lots of vitamins. So when it went down, this is absolutely absurd.”
Clayton wrote in the lawsuit that John Wallace performed a necropsy and found Misty was overall healthy, except for masses in her stomach that led to a “Gastric Torsion with a 270 twist.”
“Dr. Wallace further opined that the reason the dog would not go back into the cab of the truck would have been from abdominal pain and the desire to stretch out,” the lawsuit read. “The family is heartbroken. The facts in the case confirm that this was absolutely not a case of negligence in any way, shape, or form.”
Smith is alleging malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.
Contact Sabrina Schnur at email@example.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.