Court: Killing of puppy with bat wasn’t torture

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An appeals court says an Iowa man who beat a puppy to death with a baseball bat didn’t commit animal torture.

The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that Zachary Meerdink didn’t have “depraved intent” when he killed the 7-month-old Boston Terrier in 2011 outside his girlfriend’s Davenport home.

Wednesday’s ruling overturns Meerdink’s conviction for animal torture and a two-year prison sentence. Meerdink was paroled in April.

Judge Larry Eisenhauer says Meerdink intended to kill, but prosecutors failed to show that he had a “depraved intent” as the statute requires. He says no one witnessed the killing, and Meerdink didn’t appear happy afterward.

A dissenting judge says the dog was beaten to death after having an accident in the home — “an extreme response to an ordinary and forseeable occurrence.”

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