Suspect in shooting death of VSP special agent once stabbed a dog

LANCASTER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)  —  Experts say there were signs of escalating violence from the man suspected of killing Virginia State Police Special Agent Mike Walter.

8News obtained a report from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office that offers disturbing details about what Travis Ball did to a dog in 2013.

According to the report, deputies responded to a home where Ball was living with his then-girlfriend and her family.

They were called for an alleged assault, but once officers went inside, they discovered the family dalmatian stabbed on the top of the head.

According to the girlfriend’s mother, Ball threatened to kill her and the dog.

The animal needed stitches but it survived.

Ball was eventually convicted and sentenced to three months in jail for animal cruelty.

There are multiple studies that show people who are abusive to animals are more likely to act violently towards people. Organizations like the National Link Coalition are working to stop the violence.

Psychiatrist Dr. Bela Sood with the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU agrees there is a connection between how people treat animals and how they treat people.

She explains someone who is aggressive towards a family pet, often lacks empathy. While she hasn’t treated Travis Ball, Dr. Sood says it is not a surprise his violence escalated.

“Because often times, when you have done a crime, the taboo for kind of moving to another one is lesser and lesser and lesser,” she explained. “And so you do see this evolving pattern.”

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