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Man charged in puppy's death

January 15, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A Hagerstown man has been charged with animal mutilation and other crimes in connection with the injury and death of a 13-week-old cocker spaniel.

The dog's owner on Sept. 20, 2008, left the puppy, named Lily, in her apartment with her boyfriend, who was watching her children. When she returned home from work, she found the dog lying on the floor unable to move, Washington County District Court documents show.

She took Lily to a veterinarian, who found the dog had severe blunt force trauma to its head, documents show.

Lily's owner received a voicemail message from the boyfriend, and in the message a voice she identified as his apologized and said he grabbed the dog "way too hard."

The dog died Sept. 27, 2008, after a second incident.

Joshua L. Roberts, whose last known address was 112 N. Mulberry St., was charged in the dog's death.

Roberts had again been baby-sitting and called the dog's owner to tell her something was wrong with her dog and he believed it had died from drinking soapy water during a bath, court documents show.

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A veterinarian performed a necropsy and found burn marks on the corners of the dog's mouth and said the dog's death was probably due to electrocution, documents show.

Police were not able to interview Roberts about the incident because he was not in the area and his phone was disconnected.

Conviction on an animal mutilation charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Roberts also was charged with two counts of animal cruelty.

Conviction on an animal cruelty charge carries of maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

He also was charged with malicious destruction of property, valued under $500.

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