MISSION VIEJO -- A 51-year-old man kicked down his neighbor's front door and beat a German shepherd with a steel rake because he was fed up with her barking, sheriff officials said.
Deputies were called to the home Wednesday afternoon after a neighbor heard a man yell, "Die dog, die," said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Officials found the dog in a bathtub inside the home, bleeding severely with several puncture wounds in his head and body, Amormino said.
"I just couldn't believe it," said Bill Daly, owner of the 5-year-old dog named Honey. "I was totally shocked when I got here and saw her."
Investigators believe a neighbor, identified as Michael Stuart Patterson, beat the dog with a steel rake when he got tired of her barking.
Another neighbor, Phillip De Labio, said he heard Patterson yelling and banging on Daly's door, complaining about the dog.
"I'm going to kill you, and I'm going to kill your dog," De Labio said he heard Patterson yelling.
Police said Patterson broke the door down and entered the house to find Daly not at home. As Patterson was leaving, he saw Honey barking at him from the side gate, opened the unlocked gate and beat the dog with a steel rake that was nearby, officials said.
Daly said there is a doggie-door that allows Honey to go in and out of the house as she pleases. Daly said he believes she went up to the bathtub to hide because it's "the place she goes when she's scared."
Sheriff officials were called to the 26300 block of Via Logrono at about 1 p.m. Tuesday after a neighbor heard a commotion coming from the home, Amormino said.
When deputies arrived, they found the front door of the home had been kicked in and a bloody rake left near the gate to the house, Amormino said.
The suspect was gone when deputies arrived at the home, but a neighbor was able to get a license plate of a car leaving the area, Gavin said.
Officials at first thought the assault might have occurred as a result of a burglary, but deputies found that no property had been taken, Gavin said. Daly also searched the home and found nothing missing.
"His intention was to kill the dog and not burglarize the home," Amormino said. "But that is an extreme measure to break into somebody's home."
When deputies found the dog inside a bathtub, she was taken to a nearby animal hospital where she was treated for several puncture wounds.
Honey is expected to make a full recovery, but may lose some function in her right eye, Daly said. He said despite the trauma, she was almost back to normal after the anesthesia wore off.
Daly said he adopted Honey in April after seeing an ad on Craigslist. Her previous owner was going to take the dog to the pound unless he found a new home for her, Daly said.
Daly said he knows Honey barks a lot, but he had not received complaints about her before. He said Patterson rents a room two houses from his home, but he had never met him before.
"I've never met the guy. Why would he do something like this?" Daly said. "If he doesn't want to confront me personally, he can put a note on my door."
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Monica Kwick lives in the home where Patterson rents a room. Kwick described him as a generally "normal roommate," but mentioned he had not been in a good mood in recent weeks because of illness and work. Kwick described a recent incident when she was trying to help him fix a computer problem.
"He said, 'Patience is not with me right now; I'm not really in the mood,'" Kwick recounted.
Patterson was taken into custody in Huntington Beach, said Lt. Mike Gavin, chief of police services for Mission Viejo.
According to sheriff arrest records, Patterson is in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail.
He was booked on suspicion of burglary and cruelty to animals, Gavin said.
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