Choked Puppy Dies, Owner Charged

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCSanDiego.com

    A dog owner who told animal control officers that he pinned down a 10-week old puppy for 20 seconds to teach it a lesson faces charges in the puppy's death Friday.

    David Hale Warner, 50, was arrested Wednesday and accused of choking his chocolate lab puppy Coco on Tuesday night.

    On Friday, staff with the county's animal services confirmed the puppy had died. "We are sad to announce that Coco went into cardiac arrest early this morning and could not be saved," the department's director Dawn Danielson said in a news relese. "Despite the heroic efforts of the veterinary staff and around-the-clock care, the injuries were too severe for this puppy to survive."

    Coco was brought to an emergency veterinary clinic by Warner after the incident, according to officials with the county department of animal services. After workers at the clinic determined Coco could not walk, had difficulty breathing, and has red-tinged saliva and  blue-ish gums, they notified animal services.
       
    Warner was questioned by animal control officers after he returned to the clinic on  Wednesday morning. The officers said Warner was arrested after he admitted choking the puppy and pinning it down for 20 seconds in an effort to punish it and teach it a lesson. 
       
    Warner was booked on felony animal cruelty charges, and faces imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $20,000. During booking, officers discovered Warner had a warrant for spousal abuse, authorities said. 

    Warner pleaded not guilty in court Friday and is being held on $35,000 bail.

    If convicted, Warner faces prison time and a $20,000 fine.