Photo by Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times Jonathan Rasmussen appears in Island County Superior Court Monday after he allegedly killed a dog with a pickaxe.

Coupeville man accused of killing dog with pickaxe

A Coupeville man is accused of beating a dog to death with a pickaxe and shooting it Sunday, according to police.

Jonathan P. Rasmussen, 36, also threatened to cut off his mother’s head with a chainsaw; he then grabbed a chainsaw and unsuccessfully tried to start it, the police report states.

Rasmussen made his preliminary appearance in Island County Superior Court Monday afternoon. Judge Alan Hancock ruled there was probable cause to hold him on suspicion of charges that include animal cruelty in the first degree and assault in the second degree.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme asked that Rasmussen be held on $100,000 because he posed “a severe risk” to the community of committing a violent offense. Hancock agreed, calling the allegations appalling.

The first incident occurred just after midnight Aug. 27. Rasmussen’s mother came home from work to find Rasmussen, who lives with her in rural Coupeville, intoxicated and agitated.

Rasmussen made numerous threats, including a threat to slit her throat. He also threatened to cut her head off with a chainsaw. He suddenly lunged over to a wheelbarrow and grabbed a chainsaw as his mother ran for the house. He tried to start the chainsaw several times, but it was out of gas, the police report states.

Later in the day, Rasmussen was at his sister’s home, which is near his mother’s house. He became enraged at his mother’s Bernese mountain dog because it killed a neighbor’s chicken.

Rasmussen first tied a rope around the dog’s neck and dragged it around the property, causing the dog to vomit. He grabbed a pickaxe and started hitting the dog with it, the report states. He then went to his truck, retrieved a .22 rifle and shot the dog.

Three children were home when the incident occurred. They hid inside the house with their parents.

Rasmussen walked away from the home but was quickly arrested by a deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office. He had blood on both hands, his wrists and his clothing; blood was spattered on his legs, the report states.

Rasmussen’s family members said they were scared of Rasmussen, who had been getting more and more out of control, the report states.