FARMINGTON, Mo. ( -- 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.

The man accused in the abuse, Jason Hampton, still awaits trial. He faces a felony count of animal abuse. The first prosecutor on the case lost an election, the second recused herself, and now a special prosecutor from Madison County, Mo., is handling the case.

M. Dwight Robbins is the special prosecutor but Karen Runk, the president of Missouri K9 Friends is worried he plans to drop the case, or lower the charges.

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

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 a the time.

Hampton is due in court for a hearing on February 20. Prosecutor Robbins did not return multiple calls from News 4.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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