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ATHENS TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A Michigan man is accused of killing a puppy with a chainsaw, authorities said.

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Erik Paul Taylor, 22, of Athens Township, was charged in the death of the 5-month-old mixed black Labrador and Treeing Walker Coonhound puppy that belonged to his sister-in-law, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.

Taylor was being held at the Calhoun County Jail. Bail was set at $20,000. After being arraigned Monday, Taylor will appear in court on Feb. 9. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Taylor’s sister-in-law, Melody Taylor, 24, said her family “was in shock.”

“We have no idea why,” Melody Taylor told the Enquirer. “The family is in shock. They can’t believe he would do something like this.”

According to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to a call from Melody Taylor at 12:32 p.m. on Jan. 23, the newspaper reported.

Melody Taylor said she found blood on a chainsaw and on a bandanna the dog, named Luna, was wearing the night before.

Deputies arriving shortly after the call found the dog buried with its head nearly severed, the Enquirer reported. According to deputies, Erik Taylor told them the dog was possessed and he had to kill her.

Erik Taylor also claimed the puppy became aggressive toward one of his father’s dogs, so he shot it with a .22-caliber rifle, the newspaper reported.

However, Erik Taylor told deputies that bullets did not kill the puppy, so he used the chainsaw “to finish her off.”

Deputies said an examination of the dog showed no evidence of gunshot wounds, the Enquirer reported.

“This is one of the worst cases of animal cruelty we have investigated in quite some time,” Calhoun County Sheriff Steve Hinkley told reporters Friday.

Melody Taylor said she “never trusted” her brother-in-law, and that another family member was supposed to be watching the puppy.

“Two weeks prior he was telling my husband and I (that) we should kill the dog because the dog was possessed,” Melody Taylor told the Enquirer. “He just said it that one time and I asked him to leave the house.

“(Luna) was never aggressive. She was a lover. I have a 2-year-old daughter and she was always pouncing on (Luna) and playing with her and she has never snapped at her,” Melody Taylor said. “The other dogs were outside dogs and Luna was scared of them and when you would run at her she would cower down. I just never believed it. She was never aggressive so I didn’t believe it.”