2 Del. Men Charged in Fatal Dog Beating - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

2 Del. Men Charged in Fatal Dog Beating

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Vernon Slater Vernon Slater
Peter Beddia Peter Beddia

FELTON, Del.- A Kent County man is speaking out after he says he was arrested and charged for beating a small dog to death.

Vernon Slater, 48, of Felton says he hit a dog on the head with a baseball bat on Tuesday because it was ill and needed to be put down.

"It upset me. It really did upset me. I just come home and cried. I am an animal lover and it hurt, but I did what I had to do," said Slater.

Slater says he was surprised when Delaware State Police and Animal Control Officers showed up at his door on Wednesday.

"I couldn't even believe it and then they tell me I'm going to be arrested. I said, 'For what?' They said 'animal cruelty.' 'Huh?,'" said Vernon.

Kent County SCPCA officers said the incident happened earlier this week along Andrews Lake Road near Felton. Investigators said the dog, which was a Yorkshire terrier-Pomeranian mix, was beaten to death with a baseball bat and buried in a yard. Investigators say someone then contacted authorities.

On Wednesday, officers arrested Slater and 25-year-old Peter Beddia, both of Felton. Slater was charged with felony cruelty to animals and Beddia was charged with felony conspiracy. Investigators say the dog was buried in Beddia's backyard. Both men were released on a $5,000 bond.

According to Major Brian Whipple with the SPCA, Beddia is the fiance of Slater's sister-in-law, who owned the dog. Whipple says Slater's story isn't completely accurate. Whipple could not comment in detail because the case is still under investigation.

Slater said the dog, named Buttons, had been in the family for about 15 years.

"It had cancer or cysts all over her body and she was bleeding from her stomach and I couldn't see her suffering anymore. I did what I thought was the next best thing. Get her out of her misery real quick, but they seem to think that it's inhumane," said Slater.

Slater said his family could not afford to get the dog euthanized, so he did what he believed was the best thing that could be done to put the dog out of its misery. He claimed he struck the dog "once" in the head, according to investigators.

Bill Draper lives just a few doors down from where the incident happened.

"If you can't afford to get the dog shots maybe you can take it the SPCA. Ask for help from somewhere along the line instead of just beating the dog with a ball bat," said Draper.

The case is still under investigation.

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