Crime Watch 8

Police: 12 minutes of video show man beating mom’s dog to death

Photo of Michael Lukas. (Provided Photo/GPD)

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – A Greenwood man has been taken into custody for beating and killing a dog over the weekend.

An agonizing 12 minutes of video shows the dog beaten to death. Police said the man who did it is the dog owner’s son.

Investigators said Michael Lukas, 35, denied everything until they told him it was caught on camera.

According to family, up until Sunday, Lukas and the dog had a close relationship.

His mother, who owned Gypsy the dog, told Greenwood police officers the dog slept with Lukas most nights at the home on the 600 block of Downing Drive.

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Even on a rainy Monday — with a cat visible in the front window, a toy bear on the front porch and lawn ornaments of a rabbit and a duck by the garage — it’s clear the owner on Downing loves animals.

It makes what happened inside the home Sunday morning all the more surprising to neighbors including Holly Hubbs.

“Makes me feel horrible,” she said.

“It’s just horrifying,” added neighbor Mike Russell.

Greenwood police said the daughter of the homeowner came home Sunday afternoon to find Gypsy, a 16-year-old border collie mix, dead inside.

Lukas, who also lives at the home, claimed he didn’t know what happened.

Detectives said Gypsy was about to be buried when the sister saw security video of Lukas screaming and beating the dog. Finally, after 12 minutes, Gypsy is thrown down and no longer makes a noise.

Hubbs said there is no excuse.

“No. There is none,” she said.

“I’m at a loss for words. Hard to believe somebody would do that to an animal,” added Russell. “I don’t care how bad of a day a person has, how bad things are at work or your life, you don’t take it out on an animal or a person. You just don’t do that. It’s not right.”

A sign coming into the Clearbrook Lakes subdivision provides a warning of surveillance video, though apparently Lukas didn’t believe the surveillance extended inside the home he shared with his mother.

Police said he denied everything until they told him the incident on video.

Neighbors said the Lukas’s kept to themselves so much, no one knew a dog lived in the home.

One reported seeing Lukas cutting the grass sometimes.

Hubbs’ dog Skittles is deaf and mostly blind.

“They have a love beyond compare,” she said. “We’re supposed to be their voice.”

She and Russell are glad in this case, the camera could be that voice, along with Lukas’s own sister.

Now they hope Downing Drive can go back to the way it was.

“One bad egg don’t spoil everything,” said Russell.

“It’s a nice neighborhood but sometimes the wrong people end up moving in,” adds Hubbs.

Lukas faces a felony count of a animal cruelty.

Police tell News 8 they have a copy of the video, which has audio, too, but because it’s evidence, they are not releasing any of it.

We also knocked on the door on Downing Drive, but the woman inside refused to come to the door.

According to the Greenwood Police Department, officers responded to a business in the 100 block of Sheek Road about 6 p.m. Sunday for a report of possible domestic animal abuse.

Once at the residence, Melissa Howard told officers she had surveillance footage showing her brother, Michael Lukas, beating and ultimately, killing their mother’s dog.

Howard said her and her husband found Gypsy dead inside her mother’s house on Sunday afternoon. Howard said Lukas, who was living at his mother’s house at the time, claimed to have no idea as to what happened to Gypsy, according to police.

Howard, after coming across surveillance footage, interrupted her husband, who had started putting the dog in a box, and told him they should call the police.

Police said that on the surveillance footage, Lukas is heard screaming profanity at Gypsy and seen repeatedly hitting and kicking the animal.

Howard and Lukas’ mother said Gypsy had been fine before she left and after hearing about Gypsy’s death, gave officers permission to enter her house.

At that time, Lukas was placed into custody and transported to the Johnson County Jail. He faces a preliminary charge of killing a domestic animal.