Jury convicts Thomas Huggins of animal cruelty for killing, cooking and eating the family dog

TAMPA - "I told him I killed the dog," Thomas Huggins explained to jurors in a Tampa courtroom.

Huggins says he strangled his family puppy with his own hands and then he explained to them exactly how he did it.

"I think I tried to tie it up with something else first and then it like broke and then I grabbed the bicycle tube," he said.

Huggins says the 6 month old pit bull named bandit bouncing around a neighbor's cell phone video kicked and struggled inside his Tampa home on June 27 as he put her to death.

"I wrapped it up so I wouldn't have to use, so I wouldn't have to use unnecessary force or whatever," he said on the stand.

Then he says he put a black garbage bag over the puppy's head and suffocated her.

"A plastic bag so it wouldn't suffer. I didn't want to torture the dog. I put it down because it was getting aggressive," he said.

Huggins was facing animal cruelty charges for what the state calls a brutal and cruel act. Jurors convicted him of the third degree felony Thursday afternoon and he could spend a maximum of five years in prison.

But what jurors would never learn investigators say Huggins eviscerated, cooked parts of the puppy in a pot on the stove, then ate her.

"He made sure the dog was dead, then proceeded to skin it, remove the insides of it, decapitate it. Then he cut it up," said Tampa Police Officer Thomas Ferrell.

And investigators say he saved the leftovers.

"He told me that when he was done cutting the dog up, he put the remaining parts inside the freezer," said Ferrell.

The state says Bandit suffered.

His sister told police at the scene where she found the puppy's decapitated head in the trash her brother is mentally disturbed.

Huggins is set to be sentenced on December 19.

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