San Diego

Veteran Appears in Court for Allegedly Abusing Neighbors' Huskies

Surveillance video and dog DNA discovered on a bat inside the defendant’s home are key pieces of evidence

Warning: the details of this story may disturb some.

The preliminary hearing for a veteran accused of violently abusing his neighbors' huskies continued Thursday.

David Herbert, 36, an honorably discharged disabled veteran, was arrested after a months-long investigation led police to his home. On Aug. 11, he pleaded not guilty.

He is accused in the brutal torture of two Huskies and the death of a golden retriever. That involved dumping acid on the dogs, gouging out one of their eyes and taking a Golden Retriever named Lala from another family. That dog has since been presumed dead.

An Oceanside police sergeant testified that surveillance video and dog DNA discovered on a bat inside the defendant’s home are key pieces of evidence against Herbert.

Surveillance video that showed Herbert's car leaving the cul de sac where Lala lived with her family on the day of her disappearance was a turning point in the case, said the sergeant.

When the police zoomed in the video, the sergeant testified he saw Lala in the back of Herbert's car looking out the window.

Lala's owner testified Thursday about the last day she saw her dog. An Oceanside police detective testified that police found blood in the defendant's car that matched Lala's DNA. There was also saliva from one of the tortured Huskies found on the defendant's car window.

On Wednesday, an Oceanside mother choked back tears as she testified about the moment she came home and found her two Huskies brutally hurt inside her home.

One of Herbert's neighbors also got into a verbal altercation with him about the volume of her TV in a separate incident. About a week later, she walked out to find all the tires of her car slashed.

Herbert faces five charges of animal abuse, four charges of vandalism, two charges of petty theft and one charge each of residential burglary and using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony, according to Oceanside police.

Police have linked Herbert to six reported criminal cases, where two separate residents of the same home were victimized. 

Oceanside police first began investigating a series of criminal events happening on Carino Way in April. A family living at the home decided to move after their two Huskies were assaulted, police said. 

Soon, new residents moved into the home with their two dogs. On May 30, police said, the neighbors reported both their dogs missing from their home.

Herbert served six years in the U.S. Navy. He does not own or have animals at his home. If convicted of the felony charges, he could face up to 16 years in prison. 

The other abused dogs are recovering, Oceanside police said. The preliminary hearing will continue Friday to determine whether there is enough evidence to go to trial.

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