Convicted Idaho dog killer arrested in Washington


OKANOGAN, Wash. -A man convicted for killing a dog in Kootenai County was arrested by the Okanogan County deputies on Friday.

Austin Stephen Matott was released from jail on a $25,000 bond on Tuesday. He was pulled over for a routine traffic stop a few days beforehand.

Matott was wanted in Idaho for skipping his sentencing hearing last month, August 7. He was found guilty of two charges of animal abuse and cruelty.

A jury found Matott responsible for killing a corgi-heeler mix named Hank, who was owned by Dakota Cook. KHQ obtained a statement from the veterinarian in the case who said Hank’s injuries were similar to that of being hit by a car or falling from three stories or more.

"It's good to know justice has finally prevailed, that they actually caught him, so that maybe we can move forward," Jennifer Cook, Dakota's mother, said.

"Now, we can really focus on getting that law changed in Idaho, so that people don't have to go through this," she said.

A friend of Matott, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he still doesn't believe Matott could have killed Hank.

"I got a giant group of people that all know him personally if you really want to get an opinion - all who will tell you how nice of a guy he is and how much he loves animals and would never hurt a dog," the friend said.

However, the friend also admitted the newest details cast some doubt.

"The only thing I won't defend him on is his skipping sentencing. I think that just made him look guilty," the friend said.

Following their personal tragedy, the Cook's created Hank's Law Foundation. The group is dedicated to reforming Idaho's animal cruelty laws, including implementation of harsher sentences for convicted animal abusers. For more information on Hank's Law Foundation, click here.

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