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Charges: Savage man attempted to put dog 'out of misery' with sledgehammer

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A Savage man is facing criminal charges after allegedly attempting to kill his golden retriever with a sledgehammer last Friday evening as several neighbors, including children, watched.

The Savage Pacer reports 71-year-old Rudolph William Poppe is charged with felony animal cruelty, felony animal torture, obstructing the legal process and disorderly conduct.

According to the criminal complaint, a neighbor went to Poppe's house after hearing yelling and screaming. The neighbor watched Poppe walk out of his home on the 13400 block of Alabama Avenue with the dog. Poppe told the neighbor he was going to put the animal "out of its misery."

The neighbor said he watched Poppe grab a large hammer and pleaded with Poppe not to hurt the dog. According to WCCO's report, the neighbor told police he saw Poppe hit the dog with the hammer about 15 times. The neighbor quickly called 911.

When police arrived just after 7:15 p.m., sobbing neighbors pointed to Poppe's home. Officers found the retriever severely injured, but still breathing. The dog was taken to the veterinarian to be properly euthanized.

Poppe resisted arrest and police had to use two sets of handcuffs to restrain him, the complaint stated.

Poppe later told police that his dog was old, could barely walk and defecated on the floor, so he decided to take it outside and kill it with a hammer.

If convicted of his charges, Poppe could face up to two years in prison for each felony charge, one year for the misdemeanor charge and 90 days for the gross misdemeanor charge.

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