A 23-year-old Greencastle man pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty Friday in a court case that alleges he killed his girlfriend's puppy for chewing on his Air Jordans.
Kenneth J. Collins, formerly of Indianapolis but now residing on Howard Street in Greencastle, was held on $500 cash bond with Judge Charles "Denny" Bridges ordering a pretrial conference set for 11 a.m. Jan. 23 in Putnam Superior Court.
The charge stems from an early morning incident Aug. 12 when Greencastle City Police Officer Eric Vaughan was called to a Castlebury Drive apartment after a neighbor reported hearing a dog being beaten. The neighbor reportedly later observed a dead dog on the back porch of a residence occupied by Collins and Heather Danielle Burger.
Collins, who was arrested earlier this week in Greencastle after several attempts to find him in Indianapolis went for naught, has been charged with cruelty to an animal resulting in death (a Class A misdemeanor), or more specifically, "knowingly or intentionally beating a dog or vertebrate animal."
The nine-month-old puppy was already dead by the time city officers arrived on the scene at 3:07 a.m., the police report notes.
Court records indicate Collins had become upset with the dog because it had been chewing on a pair of his Air Jordan sneakers, as well as shoes belonging to Burger's daughter.
Collins told police he "punched the dog in the stomach one time," and said the dog "began to yelp" and ran under the couch. The suspect said he grabbed the dog and pulled it back out, court records show.
He also reportedly told police that when he pulled the dog from under the furniture, he noticed it "was having trouble breathing" and blood was coming out of its mouth.
Officer Vaughan said he then asked Collins to show him the shoes on which the animal had been chewing.
"As I looked over the two pairs of shoes," Vaughan said in his report, "I observed very minimal damage to the back of one (shoe) of each pair."
The report also notes that a series of photos were taken of the scene inside the apartment where the dog had been lying. The photos reportedly show a blood stain on the carpet.
"It appeared that they had tried cleaning the stain up prior to officer arrival," Vaughan stated, "as it was wet around the stained area."
Animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor, is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.