Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Mother says suspect strangled dog weeks before
A Roswell man charged with animal cruelty and negligent use of a deadly weapon in August was given his preliminary examination at the Chaves County Courthouse Tuesday morning.
On Aug. 9, at about 9:19 p.m., deputy Mike Shannon of the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to Eastern New Mexico Medical Center in reference to an elderly female wishing police contact.
Upon arrival, deputy Shannon met with 83-year-old mother Janelle Bryant. She told the deputy that her son, 57-year-old Rick D. Bryant, had shot one of his pigmy goats because it had kicked over his telescope.
“Ms. Bryant stated Rick had found pigmy goats and took him to buy some last Saturday,” the deputy wrote in a criminal complaint. “On this date, she got into an argument (as they normally do) with Mr. Bryant over him drinking and not doing anything.”
Janelle Bryant told authorities it was at that moment when one of the goats had knocked down the telescope.
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“(Janelle said) Mr. Bryant obtained a firearm from an unknown location, went outside and shot the pigmy goat,” Shannon wrote. “Mr. Bryant walked back in the house and stated, ‘I shot the goat.'”
The mother said in the criminal complaint that she was washing dishes when she heard the gunshot, but never thought he would actually shoot the animal.
“When asked, Ms. Bryant stated she did not see a weapon,” the deputy wrote. “Ms. Bryant stated she never dreamed of him hurting their goats because Rick loved them.”
The mother told authorities she then went outside, where she saw a goat limping, crying and bleeding from the back.
“She stated that she took some hydrogen peroxide and tended to the wound so that it wouldn’t get infected,” Shannon said. “Then, Rick handed her a business card for Cielo Grande Veterinary Clinic, where she made after hours telephone contact.”
Rick Bryant helped his mother load the painfully bleating animal into a vehicle, the complaint states. A veterinarian later advised Janelle Bryant that the goat’s hip was broken.
The next day, Aug. 10, deputy Shannon met with the doctor who treated the goat at Cielo Grande.
“Dr. Mills believed the two were a couple and noted that Mr. Bryant appeared to be intoxicated, but did not have any reason to believe he is the would-be shooter,” Shannon said. “(The doctor) stated it appeared to be a through-and-through and didn’t have any cause to believe it was not a gunshot wound.”
A radiograph taken by the clinic did not show any lead or round objects in the affected areas.
“Dr. Mills added that goats are susceptible to shock leading to death and that she expected the goat to live through the evening,” the deputy wrote. “Dr. Mills added she administered antibiotics and that was all she was able to do at the time.”
Shannon wrote in the criminal complaint that the doctor did not give a time of death for the goat. The veterinarian was unable to be contacted by press time.
Janelle Bryant was later asked by authorities if she felt safe at home with her son.
“She stated she did not feel in fear, as she was ‘off limits’ to her son,” the deputy wrote.
The mother was instructed how to obtain a temporary restraining order, which she refused.
“Ms. Bryant stated she just wants to get him some help,” Shannon said. “(I) also learned approximately a week earlier, the two had an argument at Walmart when she heard her dog start choking. Ms. Bryant stated Rick was in the backseat, strangling her dog.”
When asked why she chose not to contact law enforcement, Janelle Bryant told police that she did not want to cause “another argument.”
Deputy Shannon obtained two search warrants that evening at the 800 block of North Plains Park Drive. One was to search the residence, the other for Rick Bryant’s DNA.
“Upon arrival, (I) knocked and announced loudly, ‘Sheriff’s Office, search warrant,” followed by deputy Bradshaw’s advisement,” Shannon said. “This was an attempt to give the residents a chance to come to the door.”
Authorities said once it was clear that there was not anyone coming to answer the door, a forced entry was necessary.
“Upon entry into the home, (I) observed Mr. Bryant and his mother, Ms. Bryant, standing in the living room,” the deputy wrote. “Mr. Bryant was detained, and Ms. Bryant was escorted out of the residence.”
Rick Bryant waived his Miranda warning and chose to speak with deputy Shannon.
“He stated that someone had shot his goat, possibly one of his neighbors, ‘I think,'” the deputy wrote. “(I) asked Mr. Bryant if he owns a firearm to which he replied, looked back and pointed, ‘I got a gun somewhere.'”
Bryant was unable to give police the location of his handgun, but told them he was allowed to carry a firearm even though he was a felon.
According to nmcourts.gov, Bryant’s previous criminal history includes an aggravated battery charge in 1994, which was later dismissed, a charge in both 1991 and 1994 of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, where he was later found guilty for both, and in 2006, Bryant was charged with 14 felony charges of possession of a controlled substance. As a result, he received an 18-month sentence in 2007.
“He denied making any statements that he shot the goat,” Shannon wrote. “Mr. Bryant added that he was angry, but would not fire a weapon at the goat. (I) briefly spoke with Ms. Bryant regarding this matter, as she was quite upset.”
As authorities searched through and photographed the home, there were two cans of beer in the living room near a recliner. One was sealed and chilled, the other – open. In the same bedroom, eight assorted live rounds were located, along with a box of 31 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Deputy David Hohle had advised that he located a 9mm Smith and Wesson containing six rounds in the magazine and another round in the chamber between the right armrest and cushion of the recliner near the cans of beer.
Bryant is charged for possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon, a fourth-degree felony, extreme cruelty to animals, a fourth-degree felony and a petty misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
On Tuesday morning’s preliminary examination, Magistrate Judge E. J. Fouratt said the case was called for a continuance.
A fifth judicial district attorney is prosecuting the case in Chaves County Magistrate Court, while Bryant is being defended by Thomas E. Lilly.
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.