The owner of a 10-week-old chocolate lab was arrested Wednesday.
David Hale Warner, 50, is accused of choking his puppy Coco on Tuesday night.
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.
"History has shown that there is a definite correlation between people that abuse animals and domestic violence”, said Dawn Danielson, the director of the county department of animal services. "We encourage people to report cases of animal abuse and help us break the cycle of violence."
Coco is in intensive care at an unnamed veterinary hospital. If the dog survives, it will presumably be available for adoption.