November 12, 2014


The case against a West Valley man accused of intentionally trapping his neighbor’s dog will go forward next week, with jury selection expected to start on Monday.

Russell Files, 45, is the El Mirage man charged with animal cruelty after police said he set a trap for his neighbor’s Australian cattle dog, Zoey, in December 2012.

Files, a former employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, tried to have the charges against him dropped, arguing that his job with the Wildlife Services department of the USDA required him to catch animals.

Zoey’s owners, Britan and Lindsay Hartt, were friends with the Files family when they first moved to the neighborhood, but the two families later had a falling out.

Zoey, who was 7 years old at the time of the incident, lost 17 teeth trying to chew her way out of the clamp-trap that ensnared her front and back left paws.

Files approached two of his bosses in 2012 about setting traps in his yard, court records show. One boss later testified that while Files had complained about his neighbor’s dog, he had only inquired about setting traps in his yard to trap several free-roaming, feral dogs.

Files’ felony trial will begin in Arizona Federal District Court next week.


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