June 27, 2012 — -- A Texas man faces a felony charge after he allegedly bit, killed and ate a housemate's pet dog while high on the synthetic drug "spice."
The alleged attack is the latest in the series of violent and bizarre incidents linked to spice, which mimics the effects of marijuana, and bath salts, which mimics cocaine.
Michael Daniel, 22, allegedly smoked spice in his Waco, Texas home before he assaulted his housemates and then ran out of the house into his yard, where he began crawling around on his hands and knees. He barked and growled at a neighbor and chased him back into his home.
Daniel then allegedly took his housemate's dog, a medium-sized spaniel mix, out onto the house's porch. He allegedly beat and strangled the dog, according to Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton, and then began chewing "hunks of flesh" from the animal.
Daniel's housemates called police and requested emergency assistance, saying Daniel was "going crazy." Officers arrived at the house to find Daniel sitting on the porch with "blood and fur around his mouth" and with the dead dog lying in his lap, Swanton said.
Daniel, who police say told his housemates he was "on a bad trip" just before the alleged rampage on June 14, was charged on Monday with cruelty to a non-livestock animal.
The incident in Waco follows a series of bizarre attacks by people allegedly high on synthetic drugs, including a Glendale, Calif. man striking a 77-year-old woman with a shovel last week, a homeless man eating the face off another homeless man in Miami in May, and a man in Milton, Fla. biting into the hood of a police cruiser in February.
Spice and related products have often been sold as incense in packaging that says the contents are not to be ingested, but authorities say they are frequently used by consumers to mimic the effects of marijuana and other drugs.
In a "20/20" investigation that aired in 2011, ABC News found that spice and bath salts were being sold to teenagers across the country with little to no oversight, and many of those young users were showing up at drug treatment centers.
"They think they're dying," Louisiana Poison Control Center Director Dr. Mark Ryan told ABC News. "They have extreme paranoia. They're having hallucinations. They see things, they hear things, monsters, demons, aliens."
Since then, the government has fought to block the sale and usage of synthetic drugs.
Last December, the House of Representatives voted to add 41 chemical compounds used to make spice and bath salts to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, making them illegal to manufacture or dispense.
Last week, a similar bill passed the Senate that would criminalize 26 of those compounds, stripping off 15 of the 17 compounds that are used to make bath salts.
And according to authorities, manufacturers of synthetic drugs are constantly trying to develop new compounds that don't fall under the umbrella banned by state or federal law, making drugs particularly dangerous for users who don't know what they are going to get.
"When people use this, they may use it one time and the next time it's a totally different chemical substance," Swanton said.
According to Dr. Ryan, it's that lack of "quality control" that makes the drugs particularly risky, since some batches might affect the brain's chemistry at a more dangerous level.
"When someone buys these products, they don't know exactly what ingredient they may be getting and they don't know the amount of the substance that's in there," Ryan said. "So somebody may get one batch and get five mg, someone may buy the product around the corner and get 2,000 mg."