PHOENIX – A Phoenix man is facing an animal cruelty charge after allegedly kicking and throwing a dog that later was found dead.
Phoenix police officers responded to an apartment complex near Dunlap and 19th avenues Thursday night after receiving a call that an individual was seen kicking and throwing a dog.
The caller indicated the dog was left on the street by this person and appeared to have labored breathing, according to Sgt. Steve Martos.
Responding officers located an approximately 1-year-old white pit bull that was dead.
Witnesses told police that they saw Mark Baxter, 30, kick the dog several times and throw it to the ground. The dog collapsed off the roadway and later died.
Martos said Baxter told police that he was "aggravated" with the dog and kicked it "with some authority" to make it go away.
Officers took Baxter into custody. He was booked on one felony count of animal cruelty.
Baxter's wife told 3TV reporter Casey James that the pit bull was not their dog and it was on the property making noise. She said she had to take out the garbage so her husband went outside to shoo it away and the dog tried to attack him.
"He was trying to push the dog at first and the dog started showing its teeth and snarling its teeth at him," Khadijah Yusuf said.
She said her husband turned toward her to speak with her about calling animal control and that's when the dog jumped up and "he took the dog as it came to him and threw it on the floor, using its momentum."
Yusuf said the dog kept snarling.
"He proceeded to use his foot to inch the dog away from the front of our home because he felt that at this point the dog was a danger," she continued.
The dog ran across the street and stayed there.
"And then an hour later, we heard that the dog was over there dead so they figured that it had something to do with what my husband did to the dog," she said.
Yusuf said the dog was already limping when her husband was shooing it away.
"In my opinion, this dog was someone else's dog, they beat the dog and the dog ran and when it saw us, it felt that we were trying to hurt it, too," she said.