A photo of Draco, from the "Justice for Draco" Facebook group.

A photo of Draco, from the "Justice for Draco" Facebook group.

A Minnesota man who videotaped himself grinning and licking his lips as he tortured and killed his girlfriend's dog is heading to court.

Anthony R. Sather, 25, of Princeton will appear in Sherburne County District Court at 1 p.m. Wednesday to face a felony charge of mistreating an animal, as well as felony and misdemeanor drug possession charges. Sather, who was on probation for another drug crime at the time, also stands charged with violating the terms of his probation.

Back in October, Sather shot a series of videos of himself attacking Draco, his girlfriend's Shiba Inu/husky mix. The videos, which his horrified girlfriend later found on his computer, show Sather slamming the young dog on the concrete floor of the garage, beating and kicking him as he cried out in pain and tried to escape, and then finally pulling out a silver pistol and dragging the dog outside to the lawn. The video does not show Draco's death, but records the sound of offscreen gunfire.

Anthony Salter/Sherburne County Jail“The torture, it shocks the conscience,” Sherburne County Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Fildes told reporters after Sather was charged earlier in January. “[The video] was extremely difficult to watch.”

Sather's 21-year-old girlfriend, Andrea Godfrey, returned home to find her dog dead in a roadside ditch. She told investigators she initially believed Sather when he suggested Draco had been shot by someone who mistook him for a coyote.

But in mid-December, she found three videos on Sather's computer, documenting Draco's violent death. She duplicated them and turned them over to police.

Draco's killing spurred an outpouring of sympathy and outrage, including a "Justice for Draco" Facebook page with more than 13,400 likes, and an online petition calling for Sather's conviction that has garnered more than 88,000 signatures.

Godfrey posted this memorial video on YouTube soon after Draco's death:

A group of animal activists plans to be at the courthouse in Elk River on Wednesday to urge urge the court to reject any plea bargain for Sather.