FARMINGTON, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Trooper walks with a slight limp, but otherwise you wouldn’t know the happy dog suffered unthinkable abuse.

In February 2018, Trooper was shot, hit with a hammer and left for dead in a ditch in Farmington. He was discovered weeks later by Missouri K9 Friends.

Vets didn’t think he would survive the night. His story saw national headlines and two years later he has a new forever home.

Charges against the man accused in the abuse, Jason Hampton, were dropped, News 4 learned on Feb. 19, 2020. He faced a felony count of animal abuse. The first prosecutor on the case lost an election, the second recused herself, and then a special prosecutor from Madison County, Mo., was assigned to the case.

M. Dwight Robbins was the special prosecutor but Karen Runk, the president of Missouri K9 Friends, previously told News 4 he worried the case would be dropped or charges would be lowered.

“[Hampton] is part of their diversion program,” said Runk, which means charges could be dismissed if the defendant successfully completes the program.

"I think he (prosecutor) has sympathy for the wrong side. He feels sorry for Jason Hampton. He thinks Trooper is just a dog, so what's the big deal?" Runk said.

Runk started a petition which has several thousand signatures to drum up support. Trooper’s owner, Jen Crew, said justice must be served.

“When someone admits to torturing a dog they should definitely pay the time for what they did,” said Crew.

In Farmington, where the crime happened, it is legal to shoot a dog if it threatens you or your property. Trooper belonged to Hampton’s neighbor the time.

Hampton’s hearing was scheduled for February 20. News 4 has reached out to the prosecutor to find out why the charges were dropped but have yet to hear back.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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