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Underwood man accused of slitting dog's throat appears in court

Benjamin James Stavaas

An Underwood man who was accused last year of slitting a dog's throat finally appeared Thursday in Otter Tail County Court.

Benjamin James Stavaas, 23, is facing six counts of animal cruelty charges, two of which are felonies, for the June 2010 slitting of Star's throat.

According to court documents, Stavaas admitted to slitting his dog's throat and leaving her to die. Documents state he was angry at the dog for chasing a car. Star was eventually discovered after she wandered into a yard. Surgery was performed on the dog to treat her throat.

After failing to appear at his hearing in July, a warrant for Stavaas was issued, according to court records. He was discovered in December, when he was arrested in Golden, Colo. on burglary, theft and criminal mischief charges.

In court today, Judge Mark Hansen granted Stavaas with a public defender and issued interim conditions for Stavaas. If bond is posted, Stavaas cannot leave Minnesota without written court approval. He must remain law-abiding, maintain contact with his attorney and pay bail with conditions.

A hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 16.