SAN JOSE, Calif. --A San Jose family Wednesday night is grieving the loss of their pet dog Sparky. But how he died has left them perplexed. Sparky was severely clubbed during a burglary by two teenagers.
Sparky, an 11-year-old Chihuahua-mix weighing just a few pounds, has always been special to the McKenzie family. They rescued him at the animal shelter when he was almost 4, but his life was cut short when two teenagers broke into the McKenzie home and clubbed Sparky, leaving him for dead, for no apparent reason.
"He's always been more of the protector of the house," Sparky's owner Kim McKenzie said. "It's possible that maybe he was just trying to defend his home, but I mean he's a little dog. I'm at a loss of words."
Two other family dogs were not harmed.
Police say the teenagers broke into several homes in the upscale neighborhood. But what they did to Sparky was unimaginable. Police caught up with the two boys when one resident caught them burglarizing his house.
"My understanding is that one of the children was responsible for killing the dog," Eric McKenzie, the homeowner said. "According to the police, the other one acted like he didn't realize it tha he had gone upstairs and killed the dog with my golf club, by the way."
The teenagers have been sent to juvenile hall and booked for residential burglary. One of them was also booked for animal cruelty. Eric McKenzie said he understands the juvenile system treats teenagers differently, but he's concerned the deadly attack on Sparky should carry a strong punishment, perhaps a long-term locked up.
Many of the residents of Eldridge and Burnside drives, where the break-in's occurred, also have dogs. They find it difficult to stomach the cruelty Sparky suffered.
"It's horrifying," neighbor Jenni Eisenberg said. "I cannot believe that kids that age would have that level of brutality to do what they've done -- both the break-in's and the dog. Killing the dog, beating a dog to death, that's unimaginable for young teenage kids."