Tonopah Man Purposely Hits an Innocent Dog

Photo courtesy:

About 4 weeks ago in Tonopah, AZ several witnesses saw a man hit a dog with his truck.  If you have been following this story, you may be pleased to hear that this man was in fact charged with animal cruelty, among other charges after police further investigated this heinous crime.  Witnesses saw a truck driving down the road that went out of its way to swerve and strike an innocent stray dog.  The dog was on the shoulder of the road, not in the street.  Witnesses report that the vehicle went out of its way on purpose to hit the dog.

Photo courtesy:

After the dog was hit by a Ford pickup truck, the driver even stopped.  A man emerged from the vehicle and then dragged the dog further.  One witness used her cell phone camera to take pictures of the incident.  Upon noticing the witness with her cell phone out, the man took out a knife.  He then used the knife to threaten this witness into handing over her cell phone to him.  A second witness verifies this, along with the confirmation of the knife.  The second witness was also threatened.

After the man left the scene, witnesses still reported him.  Sadly, the dog ended up losing its life as a result of the intentional hit by the truck.  Police were able to catch the man, and identified him as Joseph Melvin Lane.  The man admitted to hitting the dog, but says it ran into the street and couldn’t be avoided.  As far as threatening the witnesses with a knife… he admits that he happened to be holding a knife while talking to them, but was not intending that to be a threat.

Ultimately Joseph Melvin Lane was arrested and charged with aggravated assault as well as animal cruelty.  Penalties for aggravated assault in Arizona can lead up to 18 months – 3 years in prison. Animal cruelty charges can be defined as either a misdemeanor or felony in Arizona and can lead to 6 months in jail and fines.  All of this could have been avoided by simply driving by and ignoring the stray dog.

Arizona senate has just approved harsher penalties for animal cruelty charges.  These new laws were passed just days after the incident, but even before the laws were passed animal cruelty was considered a class 6 felony in some cases in Arizona.  To see the ABC15 new report of this story please visit


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here