Man accused of brutally abusing golden retriever puppy pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges in SF

SAN FRANCISCO -- A man accused of brutally abusing a four-month-old puppy last year pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty and neglect on Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court.

According to prosecutors, Brian Cook, 28, abused his golden retriever puppy, causing the animal to sustain a wrist fracture, a fracture to its spinal vertebrae, a hip fracture, and multiple rib fractures.

Several neighbors reported seeing the abuse to authorities. Additionally, a veterinarian who treated the puppy, named Charlie, also reported the injuries.

San Francisco Animal Care and Control officials seized Charlie from Cook in September 2020.

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During the investigation into Charlies' injuries, Animal Care and Control officials learned Cook previously owned a one-year-old dog named Beau, which had died of injuries similar to those sustained by Charlie. An autopsy of Beau revealed that he suffered several fractures in various states of healing, suggesting Beau may have suffered multiple incidents of physical abuse, according to Animal Care and Control officials.

Charlie has since undergone surgery for his hip injury and has been adopted by a family as he continues to recover.

In light of the guilty plea, Cook is facing one year of probation and a condition that he can't own an animal for five years. Additionally, he's facing fifty days in county jail, which can be served via the San Francisco Sheriff's Department's Work Alternative Program, community service, and mandatory counseling.

"Abuse of animals will not be tolerated," San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in a statement. "Charlie's injuries were the result of repeated abuse, and I am proud of our office's work to hold Charlie's abuser accountable for his actions."

"We depend on the help of the community to provide information about suspected animal abuse," San Francisco Animal Care and Control Executive Director Virginia Donohue said. "Animal abuse is often a precursor to the abuse of humans and must be taken seriously."

Cook's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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