WESTMINSTER (AP) – Prosecutors say an Orange County parolee hit and kicked a puppy before swinging the leashed 8-month-old Chihuahua-dachshund mix around like a lasso.
Verne Joseph Strong was arrested Sunday in the Westminster Walmart parking lot after witnesses called police to report the alleged abuse.
The 56-year-old Newport Beach man pleaded not guilty Thursday felony animal abuse with a sentencing enhancement for a prior commercial burglary conviction. District attorney’s office spokeswoman Farrah Emami says he could be sentenced to four years in prison if convicted.
Investigators say Strong was arguing with his girlfriend in the parking lot when he opened the trunk of their car and took out the dog named Meanie and began swinging the animal around by the leash.