‘Machete Man’ who attacked family dog on the run

Published 10:24 am Friday, August 4, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In a world of meanness, few are meaner than the Rutherford County man who recently attacked a neighbor’s dog with a machete, splitting its head open and then refusing to show up in court to face the charges.

Timothy Matthew Hice, 35, of Ellenboro, was arrested July 16 by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and charged with felony animal cruelty. The neighbor’s dog “Petey” was later euthanized.

That Sheriff Aaron Ellenburg had Hice arrested and charged indicates a new and improved level of law enforcement in a county with a less-than-stellar track record.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Hice already was a convicted felon when he whipped out his lethal weapon and laid open the dog’s head. But then he took to Facebook to deal with the neighborhood backlash, admitting in a profanity-filled post that he attacked the dog.

“It bite (sic) my nephew who is three years old yesterday and it always tries to be aggressive and bite me and other people so I was carrying around my machete and it come to attack me and so I defended myself, that’s the point,” he wrote. He said the dog should have been “kept on a chain” by the owner.

The dog’s owner said her 3-year-old son now cries for “Petey.”

When Hice failed to show up this week in county court to respond to the felony charge, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Deputies will track him down and bring him back to answer the charge in court. It’s a setting he is all too familiar with given his string of previous felony convictions.

Also coming up for a court date in Rutherford County later this month is Delores Hanser, who faces 16 counts of felony animal cruelty charges after local authorities raided her “rescue facility”. A grand jury indicted Hanser for the poor treatment of horses and other equine at her Paws Ranch facility that she operated in Bostic. That’s where 23 horses, 17 goats and assorted other animals were seized. Some of the horses were in such poor health that they couldn’t be saved. Others were saved after top-drawer rescuers in our area spent thousands of dollars on their medical treatment.

Paola Hayes, a local leader of Animal Welfare Alliance of Rutherford, said, “We are glad to see these cases being treated accordingly by law enforcement and our county leadership.”

Rutherford County’s judicial system has the opportunity to send a clear message to would-be animal abusers: You do the crime, you do the time.

Larry McDermott is a local retired farmer/journalist. Reach him at hardscrabblehollow@gmail.com