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URBANA — A dog that’s been locked up for more than eight months, collateral damage of his owner’s criminal activity and mental illness, has been relinquished by his owner.

Rashid Khan, 32, of Urbana pleaded guilty Friday before Champaign County Judge Roger Webber to misdemeanor disorderly conduct for a sentence of one year of conditional discharge and forfeiture of his pet.

In return, and in recognition of Khan’s prior difficulties with mental illness, Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Larson dismissed a more serious felony charge alleging that Khan had sex with the dog in late May.

The crime to which Khan pleaded guilty involved him approaching a woman in the parking lot of Walmart on North Prospect Avenue in Champaign on Nov. 13 and asking if he could take her children, a request that “alarmed and disturbed” the woman.

Larson said police said Khan smelled of alcohol.

At the time, Khan was out on bond for the earlier charge, which involved him allegedly grabbing his dog, Cocoa, outside his apartment on Fletcher Street and sexually assaulting it while running naked. A neighbor reported the incident the next day, May 29, and police took the dog for safekeeping. They gave Khan a notice to appear in court.

However, when authorities learned he was not taking his prescription medication for his mental issues, they obtained a warrant to arrest him for sex with an animal, a Class 4 felony.

With Khan’s criminal cases resolved, Cocoa, a brown pit mix that has been held at Champaign County Animal Control since May 29, can now be assessed behaviorally by animal control and humane society officials to determine if he’s adoptable.

Khan, as part of his sentence, was also ordered to get a mental- health evaluation and have no contact with the woman he approached at Walmart.

Larson said Khan had previous convictions for misdemeanor theft and driving under the influence and a felony conviction for violating an order of protection.

In 2017, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity of aggravated battery.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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