SAN FRANCISCO — A man who is charged with killing his pet dog in a violent dog attack has told a judge that he would never hurt the animal.
Caleb Gentry, 30, is charged in connection with the dog attack on August 29.
Gentry was in court Wednesday to face a first-degree felony charge of felony animal cruelty, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The charges stem from an incident in which Gentry was with his girlfriend at their home in the town of Palmdale.
According to court documents, the woman and her son witnessed the dog attacking another dog in the yard.
When she went to get help, she said, she heard a man yell for help.
That’s when the dog attacked the man’s wife and child, according to the documents.
Then the man was hit with a shovel.
Witnesses said they saw the dog throw a shovel at the suspect.
A deputy who responded to the scene was able to rescue the woman’s son from the yard and take him to a local hospital.
His mother, who was also with the suspect at the time, was able at first to tell police that the dog had bitten the suspect, but later recanted that statement.
She said she didn’t realize it was Gentry until she was told by the deputy that Gentry had attacked the woman.
Prosecutors said the suspect was later identified as 27-year-old Joshua Joseph Gentry.
Detectives interviewed Gentry in the weeks following the attack and found that Gent was upset, but he said that he did not know the dog was his and that he was going to kill it, according the documents from the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office.
Police interviewed Gent again in November, and detectives learned that Gringer had told the deputy he would kill the dog but had not yet done so.
Investigators then took a statement from Gentry on Nov. 22, the day after he was arrested.
During that interview, Gentry said he was sorry for the dog’s death, but that he wouldn’t hurt it, the documents said.
He also said he didn’t know how he got the dog to attack, and that it was his idea.
In the months following the arrest, police said Gentry kept his girlfriend away from the dog.
“He never admitted that he killed it,” Santa Clara police Sgt. Robert Pfeifer told reporters.
They also said that Gence told police he had gotten the dog in April because he wanted to be rid of the animal for good, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Gentry is being held without bail.