SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. – A 65-year-old woman is accused of killing her nephew’s dog because it had chewed on her Bible, and she said it was a “devil dog.”

Deputies said that Andy Fowler called them last Tuesday to report that his aunt had hung his dog. Fowler said his aunt, Miriam Smith, admitted hanging his 1-year-old pit bull, Diamond.

Officers found the partially burned body of the dog under a pile of grass with an orange electrical cord around its neck at the home on John Worthy Road in Pacolet.

Dr. Dana Miller, vice president of animal cruelty initiatives for the Humane Society, performed a necropsy and verified that the dog died by hanging.

Long-time neighbors told News 4 that Smith is a religious fanatic.

“She wasn’t right in the head,” said John Worthy. “She read the Bible and interpreted in her own way. She’s not a monster. She’s good natured.”

“I don’t care how cold it is. Every Saturday, she’s on the porch reading her Bible.”

Smith is charged with animal cruelty. She is being held at the Spartanburg County Detention Center. The Detention Center website lists the specific violation as “animal torture.”

James Nelson, director environmental enforcement, described case as “shocking” and said the dog was hung from a on a tree on the property.

Nelson said, “This is one of top three animal cruelty cases in Spartanburg County.”

He said the county had no prior reports of animal abuse involving Smith.

Her neighbor, Worthy, said he hopes Smith will get a mental evaluation.

“She’s no monster. She’s no monster,” he said. “I just think she needs a lot of help.”

“I don’t condone what she did,” he said. “I’ve had dogs all my life. But I don’t know if jail is the best place for her. She needs help.”