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Woman Hangs 'Devil Dog' for Chewing on Bible

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By Jason Beahm on January 26, 2011 6:10 AM

It's not fair to punish someone for breaking a rule that they don't understand. It's just plain wacko to kill a dog for chewing on a bible.

But that didn't stop Miriam Smith, 65, a Spartanburg, South Carolina woman from allegedly hanging her nephew's pit bull with an electrical cord and then burning its body.

Miriam Smith told police that the dog, named Diamond, was possessed by the devil and the "Devil Dog" would have harmed neighborhood children, said the incident report from the county's Environmental Enforcement Department, CBS News reports.

Miriam Smith has been charged with felony animal cruelty. The maximum penalty for felony animal cruelty is five years in prison in South Carolina. Animal cruelty is generally defined as the infliction of harm upon animals, for purposes other than self-defense.

The case is particularly noteworthy because Smith is the first person in Spartanburg to face prosecution under South Carolina's tough new animal cruelty law. Several states have beefed up their penalties for animal cruelty in recent years.

According to the police report, Smith left a bible on the front porch which the dog chewed on. When police arrived, the dog was found burned and buried under a pile of cut grass. A portion of the cord used to strangle the dog was still around his neck. The smell of kerosene was still detectable.

Jaime Nelson, director of the county's Environmental Enforcement Department, seemed suspicious that Miriam Smith might not have been all there. He said that she acted very flat emotionally. "She just acted like - what's done has been done," Nelson told CBS News.

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