Weather Forecast


Battle Lake man accused of slitting dog's throat arrested in Colorado

Benjamin Stavaas

A 23-year-old Battle Lake, Minn., man who was on the run after being accused of slitting his dog's throat was arrested at 2 a.m. today in Colorado on other charges, authorities said.

An arrest warrant was issued in July for Benjamin Stavaas when he failed to appear at a court date on the six charges of animal cruelty he faces, two of which are felonies.

Court records allege he admitted to knifing Star, his German shepherd mix, and leaving it to die. Star had surgery and recovered after being taken in by an area animal shelter.

Sgt. Al Frank of the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office said Stavaas was picked up today in Golden, Colo., and will face extradition back to Minnesota after the local charges are handled.

"We'll be looking at bringing him back there," Frank said.

When Stavaas will return to answer for the Otter Tail County charges depends on how the Colorado charges proceed, he said.

Inmate records at the jail in Jefferson County, Colo., show Stavaas was arrested by city police in Golden on suspicion of burglary, theft and criminal mischief.

He's being held on $5,000 bail on those charges, but he is also being held as a fugitive and therefore is not eligible for bail, according to jail records.

In addition to the Otter Tail County warrant, he's wanted on a warrant out of Wadena County, Minn., connected to convictions in 2006 for terroristic threats and domestic assault.

Stavaas' case garnered intense interested from animal groups in the area, such as Otter Tail County's Humane Society.

Laura Rovang, a Humane Society employee, said Star is now at an animal rescue awaiting adoption. She said they're pleased to hear that Stavaas has been arrested.

"We're all happy he's in custody and will be brought to justice for what he's done," she said.