Man accused of killing, cooking pit bull puppy

Published June 29, 2013

TAMPA — A man strangled his mother's pit bull puppy and cooked and ate some of the remains before he was arrested Thursday on an animal cruelty charge, according to Tampa police.

Thomas Elliot Huggins, 25, killed his mother's dog Bandit on Thursday morning at his home at 9607 N Aster Ave., police said. He cut the dog's body into four pieces and placed them in a freezer. He then went about his day, a police report states. About 6 p.m., he put the ribs in a pot, cooked them on the stove and ate some of the meat.

Huggins' mother, Margie Huggins, called police about 11 p.m. after she found the pot and ribs, according to a police report. When Tampa police officers arrived, she showed them the rest of the remains in the freezer, along with the dog's head and innards in a trash can.

When questioned, Thomas Huggins said he did not believe he had done anything wrong, the report stated. Bandit had become aggressive toward him, he told police. So he choked the dog to death and used a steak knife to skin and gut it.

Officers also questioned Huggins' sister, Monica Huggins, who told them her brother showed signs of mental problems, according to the report. In recent years, he had adopted extreme religious beliefs, she said, and claimed that the "Lord" had told him to do certain things.

A 2006 graduate of Brandon High School, Huggins attended Bacone College in Oklahoma, according to his mother, but came back home without graduating. Margie Huggins said she suffers from several mental illnesses, and she suspects her son does, too. She's never known him to be violent before.

"I don't understand it. I've never been violent like that," said Margie Huggins, 54. "I grew up in the church, in fear of Jesus Christ and the wrath that will be put on you. He doesn't feel that."

Thomas Huggins was booked into the Hillsborough County jail and was being held Friday on $2,000 bail. His mother said she hopes he's released soon.

"It was gruesome, yes, but the dog is dead now," she said. "I hate to be so cold, but I do need Thomas around to help me."