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Man wanted in Wadena, Otter Tail Counties in custody in Colorado

A Battle Lake man who allegedly slit the throat of a dog -- and threatened in 2006 to do the same to a Wadena-area woman -- is in custody after a brush with the law in Colorado.

The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office confirmed Benjamin Stavaas, 23, was arrested by the Golden, Colo. Police Department, and was being held at the Jefferson County Jail.

Stavaas is wanted in Wadena County for terroristic threats, and in Otter Tail County for six animal cruelty crimes related to an incident where he allegedly cut his own dog's throat, a German shepherd-pit bull mix. The case sparked outrage among animal advocates, who wrote the judge in Otter Tail County asking for harsh penalties. But Stavaas failed to make his court appearance on July 26, and has been on the lam since, court records said.

Stavaas was in trouble twice before in Wadena County prior to his current pending charge of terroristic threats. He has a conviction for stealing a car in 2005 in Wadena, and in 2006, had a fight with a woman where he choked her and said he was going to kill her, court document said. His threat was that he was going to "slit her throat," exactly what happened to his dog four years later.

Stavaas, under questioning at the Perham Police Department, admitted cutting a Y-pattern in the dog's throat in an attempt to kill it, court documents said. The dog, named Star, recovered.

Otter Tail County authorities said Stavaas was taken into custody on Wednesday, Dec. 15. Once his charges in the Jefferson County Colorado jurisdiction are handled, Otter Tail and Wadena County prosecutors will have a chance to extradite him to Minnesota.