When Zheng Chen went back home to China for summer break, he said he asked fellow Ohio State student Austin Farley to watch his French Mastiff, Roger, while he was away.
On the day Chen returned to the states for the start of Fall Semester, he came to campus and went to pick up Roger. When Chen got to Farley’s apartment, though, he said he couldn’t believe what happened.
Farley refused to give Roger back, and soon a dispute between the two students over ownership of the dog quickly escalated from a mere argument to a crime scene, Chen said.
“I feel weird,” Chen, a fourth-year in finance who plans to graduate this winter, said in a Monday Facebook message to The Lantern. “You know, I paid him for taking care of Roger.”
A Columbus Division of Police report states Farley, 20, stabbed Chen near his neck late Aug. 13 outside Farley’s off-campus apartment.
In a call to Columbus Police, Chen described what had just unfolded on East 12th Avenue.
“I was stabbed by (a) knife,” Chen told a CPD dispatcher. “Somebody cut me with (a) knife.”
One of Chen’s friends who was outside the apartment with Chen also called police for help.
“A young man took my friend’s dog, and we come to his house to get the dog, and he bring a knife out and cut my friend,” Chen’s friend told a different dispatcher in a separate 911 call.
But that’s not what Farley said happened. He, too, called 911 that night from inside his apartment.
In that 911 call, Farley told a CPD dispatcher Roger is his dog. He said three people showed up outside his apartment door and rang the buzzer multiple times and then tried to force their way into his apartment to take his dog.
Throughout the 911 call, a dog can be heard barking in the background.
“What happened was somebody gave me the dog and now he wants him back,” Farley said.
Farley said he felt threatened and pulled out a kitchen steak knife for defense.
“They tried to come at me and I had a feeling something was up, so I pushed them out of the apartment. I had a kitchen steak knife on me for defense. (I) pushed them out and then ran up (to my apartment),” Farley said. “I just want them gone. I don’t want them to get into my apartment.”
In the 911 call, Farley denied stabbing anyone. Farley said it was only when Chen and his friends tried to get into his apartment that he pulled out the steak knife as a means of self-defense.
“I said, ‘Get the eff out of my apartment now!’ And then he came at me and I was wrestling, got him out and I shut the door, ran up here,” Farley said to the dispatcher.
Farley said he didn’t know anyone in the group well enough to give dispatchers their names, but Chen said otherwise. Chen said Farley used to room with his friend – the same friend who was at the apartment with him that night.
Although Farley denied it in the 911 call, Chen said Farley did stab him and that he has pictures to prove it.
Chen said he thought about calling police once he realized Farley wanted to keep Roger, but he wanted to talk to him first.
Chen said he didn’t have to go to the hospital that night or get stitches for the stab wound.
“The wound stopped bleeding quickly, so I just used a Band-Aid,” Chen said.
Five days after the incident, Chen said he is doing well and is “out of town these days.” He said he hasn’t talked to Farley since the incident.
“I don’t think there will be any contact between us anymore,” Chen said.
Chen said Roger is back home with him now. He thinks Farley just really liked Roger and added that Roger is an easy dog to like.
“Roger is a sweet, huge dog,” Chen said. “I don’t know how to describe (him). I think everyone loves big dogs that obey their master.”
Roger has a microchip in him that shows Chen is the rightful owner, Chen said.
Officers arrested Farley the night of the stabbing and charged him with felonious assault, the police report stated. Farley stayed in Franklin County Jail for several days but bonded out Friday, a Franklin County Jail dispatcher said.
Farley appeared in court Friday for his arraignment. His next court appearance is set for Aug. 22.
The Lantern has made several unsuccessful attempts to reach Farley as of Tuesday.