St. George man arrested for alleged animal cruelty, assault during birthday party

Tielar Mikel Hibben. Photo Courtesy: Washington County Jail

ST. GEORGE, Utah, June 30, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A St. George man was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and assault for incidents that allegedly occurred as he was celebrating his birthday.

A probable cause statement from the 5th District Court of St. George said Tielar Mikel Hibben, 24, is facing charges of burglary, a second-degree felony; simple assault, a class B misdemeanor; criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor; and cruelty to an animal, a class C misdemeanor.

On June 5, the arresting officer responded to an apartment in the Lexington Townhomes in St. George on a reported assault.

Hibben was celebrating his birthday with three other men at an apartment where two of them lived, the statement said. As the night went on, two of the men allegedly witnessed Hibben abusing his dog, Dank. They stated Hibben was kicking, punching and choking his pet. This caused one of the men such concern for the animal that he locked Dank inside the residence with Hibben locked outside.

That man and one of the other men both told the officer Hibben forced the rear door of the residence open by kicking it. This caused substantial damage to the rear residence door. They then stated when Hibben entered their residence he began to assault the man that had locked Hibben outside. The two witnesses reported Hibben was punching the other man in the head and body.

When the officer arrived on scene, he observed the rear door had been forced open and was damaged and no longer on the hinges. The two men who were not involved in the altercation had left the scene.

“I observed (the victim) was breathing heavy and had some blood, scrapes, and redness on his face from strike marks,” the statement said. “The victim denied medical treatment and was not taken to the hospital for his injuries.”

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Officials subsequently interviewed one of the men, who was at the gathering but was not intoxicated, and called 911.

“He was present the entire time of the incident and his account of what occurred was the most complete,” the statement said.

The arresting officer met with Hibben on June 25 in a trailer where he lives behind a residence in St. George. After being read his Miranda rights, Hibben said he was at two of the other men’s residence celebrating his birthday and did say one of the other men locked his dog inside of the residence.

“He (Hibben) told me he kicked the door three times to get it open and when he entered the residence he told me the man who had locked the dog out attacked him,” the statement said. “Tielar also told me another of the men was also present and witnessed the entire event.”

The arresting officer called that witness and he said he had not seen Hibben abusing his dog. He told the officer he (the witness) walked around to the front he door of the residence and when he came back to the rear door it was open and Hibben and the other man were “scraping” (sic).

When the officer told Hibben he was under arrest, “he became very upset and tried to leave the area. Officers needed to take hold of Hibben’s arms and pin him against a nearby vehicle in order to place him into handcuffs.”

The suspect was transported to the Washington County Jail with his bail set at $10,000.

The felony was committed while Hibben was on probation or parole.

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