Tennessee man accused of cutting out dog’s heart as part of ritual

HILLSBORO, Tenn. — A Tennessee man is accused of cutting out a dog’s heart as part of a ritual to exorcise demons from his home, authorities said.

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Brandon Lee Lankford, of Hillsboro, was arrested by the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, according to Coffee County online court records.

Lankford remains jailed in Coffee County, with bail set at $30,000, according to court records.

According to an arrest warrant, deputies responded Feb. 12 to a disturbance involving a dog in the Hillsboro area, WKRN reported. Deputies said they observed a man, later identified as Lankford, who said he was busy and needed to bury his dog.

Deputies said they noticed a dog in the yard with a “large stab wound on its neck and another on its body,” the television station reported.

“Upon arrival, officers observed a small dog, deceased, outside,” the felony warrant reads. “He admitted to stabbing the dog to rid demons from the house.”

Witnesses told investigators that Lankford had given the dog to a juvenile, then put the animal on a kitchen table and stabbed it in the neck and chest, WKRN reported.

“The heart was cut out of the dog and he was gathering blood from the dog,” the warrant stated. “All of this had been carried out in the presence of four adults and one minor who observed the actions.”

Lankford’s next hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Coffee County court, according to online court records.