LADWP Animal Cruelty Case

LADWP Animal Cruelty Case

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The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating a Department of Water and Power worker who they "suspect struck a dog in the face with a department-issued metal hook" on June 20, according to a LAPD search warrant obtained by FOX 11 News.

According to the dog's owner, Nick Stern, the meter reader arrived at his home in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles around nine in the morning. His medium-sized female boxer, Ziggy,  started barking. Stern says he shouted for the meter reader to wait. He did not, instead entering the yard. Stern says he repeated "wait, I will get her in the house", but the man instead ignored him, according to Stern, and proceeded to swing a "large metal pole" and hit the dog on the head. According the warrant and the homeowner, when Stern shouted to the meter reader that he didn't have to hit Ziggy, the man allegedly "yelled back, 'I've heard that before' and walked away."

The homeowner took Ziggy to the vet, who said "the dog's 'external eye injury and nerve deficits occurred as a direct result of blunt force trauma to the right side of the face that caused a concussive, closed head injury.'" The vet further determined that the dog suffered brain swelling and damage to the cranial nerve. She called it a "definite case of animal cruelty" in her report to police.

The incident is being investigated by Animal Welfare agents and LAPD, who in their search warrant, asked for the man's 24" metal pole, which is used to read meters. Police also obtained the employee's records, saying that DWP supervisors at the scene of the incident told them he had prior complaints on his file.

The employee has been identified as 53 year old Ralph Dennis Beckman. We went to his home and called him on the phone, but have been unable to talk to him about the allegations in the warrant. DWP did issue a statement saying it is taking this matter “very seriously”, and cooperating with all investigations, as well as doing their own. They will not comment today on Beckman's records, not even confirming if he has had past complaints. They do call the incident rare, saying "our employees take to heart the value of always respecting our customers and their animal companions, while ensuring their own safety". They have also agreed to pay for Ziggy's medical bills.

Her owner says he would just like to know why Beckman didn't just wait for him to put the dog in the house. "He could have killed her with that blow," he says,  while shaking his head.

The Case has been passed on to the L.A. City Attorney's office for possible charges.

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