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Savage Man Accused of Beating Dog With Sledgehammer

Posted at: 07/18/2013 2:33 PM
Updated at: 07/19/2013 3:33 PM
By: Maricella Miranda

A 71-year-old man has been charged in the beating of his dog with a sledgehammer while neighbors reportedly watched, screaming and yelling.

Police responded around 7 p.m. July 12 to a home at 13482 S. Alabama Ave. in Savage on a report of a man beating a dog with a sledgehammer, according to a Scott County criminal complaint. Upon arrival, police found adults and children screaming and crying while pointing to the house.

Rudolph William Poppe, the homeowner, approached police. Officers saw a dog that looked like a golden retriever lying on the ground near the garage door with a white plastic bag over its head, the complaint said. The chest of the dog was still moving, indicating it was trying to breathe.

A bright red pool of blood and clumps of fur and body tissue were on the driveway, the charges said. Poppe's shirt was covered in blood splatter.

Police attempted to arrest Poppe, who struggled and was forced to the ground. Police used two sets of handcuffs to restrain him, the complaint said. Poppe lives at the home with his wife, who is disabled. She was yelling from inside the house, neighbors said.

An officer took the bag off the dog's head, which was twisted around its neck with a battery clip, the charges said. Police saw a hole in the top of the dog's head, and pieces of skull and brain tissue were visible in the open wound. The dog's face was covered in blood.

The dog's eyes were open and it was still breathing, the complaint said. The dog tried to stand up twice. The group 4Paws transported the dog to an emergency veterinarian. He was later euthanized.

A neighbor told police that Poppe was swearing loudly and said he was putting the dog out of its misery, the charges said. Poppe had the sledgehammer in his hand. The neighbor offered to care for the dog and take it to the vet. The neighbor also told Poppe that he knew someone with a gun to finish the dog off quickly.

The neighbor saw Poppe hit the dog about 15 times in the head, the complaint said. The neighbor then ran to call 911.

Poppe told police that the dog was old, could barely walk and had pooped on the floor, the complaint said. He didn't answer when police asked why he didn't take the dog to the vet to be euthanized.

Poppe was charged with two felonies of animal torture, a gross misdemeanor of obstructing the legal process and a misdemeanor of disorderly conduct. He's scheduled to appear in court 8:30 a.m. Friday, July 19, in Scott County District Court.

Click here to read the criminal complaint.