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La Jolla man arrested after admitting he choked puppy

County Animal Control Officers arrested 50-year-old David Hale Warner of La Jolla Wednesday after Warner admitted choking his dog on Tuesday.

The puppy, an approximately 10-week old chocolate Labrador retriever, was brought to an emergency veterinary clinic by Warner after the incident. The veterinary staff found that the puppy could not walk, had difficulty breathing and red-tinged saliva, and its gums were blue. The veterinary staff notified the Department of Animal Services regarding the alleged abuse.

Warner returned to the veterinary hospital Wednesday morning where he was questioned by Animal Control Officers. Warner admitted that he had choked the puppy and pinned it down for 20 seconds to punish the puppy and teach it a lesson.

Warner was transported to the San Diego Detention Center and has been booked on felony animal cruelty charges, punishable by imprisonment in state prison, or by a fine of not more than $20,000 -— or by both the fine and imprisonment. While being booked, it was discovered that Warner already had an existing arrest warrant for spousal abuse.

“History has shown that there is a definite correlation between people that abuse animals and domestic violence,” said Dawn Danielson, Director of the Department of Animal Services. “We encourage people to report cases of animal abuse and help us break the cycle of violence.”

The puppy is still in intensive care at the veterinary hospital with a guarded prognosis for surviving the attack.

— Source: San Diego County Office of Animal Services