SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office announced that the suspect responsible for abusing a Golden Retriever pled guilty in court. Brian Michael Cook, 28, was responsible for abusing the puppy named Charlie, who was four months old when San Francisco Animal Care & Control (SFACC) took the animal from his owner in September 2020.
He was taken into protective custody by Animal Control Officers after neighbors reported that they heard and saw suspected abuse, and a veterinarian who treated Charlie reported alarming information about previous injuries the puppy endured.
During the course of the investigation, SFACC found Charlie sustained a wrist fracture, a fracture of a spinal vertebrae, multiple rib fractures in different stages of healing and a fracture of the hip which required surgical intervention. Additionally, SFACC found that a one-year-old dog named Beau, previously owned by the suspect, died of traumatic injuries similar to Charlie’s. A post-mortem exam of Beau, performed by SFACC Chief Veterinarian Shari O’Neill, showed several fractures in various states of healing which is suggestive of multiple incidents of physical abuse. Animal Control Officers executed a search warrant on Cook’s property to obtain additional evidence.
Cook was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and neglect. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Paige Zielinski, who ensured that Cook was held accountable for the harm he caused which entails one year of probation, a no animal condition for five years, 50 days in county jail to be served via the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program and community service, mandatory counseling, and restitution. San Francisco Animal Care & Control Officer Rebecca Fenson investigated this case.
“Abuse of animals will not be tolerated in the City and County of San Francisco, said San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, “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.”
Charlie received the necessary surgery for his hip injury at SFACC and was placed in a foster home during his recovery. The foster family adopted Charlie making him a permanent part of their family. He is healthy and thriving in their care, the SFDA’s office reported.
SFACC depends on the community to alert them. A small team of officers respond to animal-related emergencies from 6 am to 12 midnight daily (due to COVID-19, the hours have temporarily been changed to 6 am to 6 pm).
“We depend on the help of the community to provide information about suspected animal abuse” said Virginia Donohue, Executive Director of San Francisco Animal Care & Control. “Animal abuse is often a precursor to the abuse of humans and must be taken seriously.”