By Associated Press Writer
updated 3/29/2010 6:22:31 PM ET 2010-03-29T22:22:31

A man who tossed a stranger's Chihuahua off a bridge in a fit of anger could go to prison after pleading guilty Monday to aggravated animal cruelty and theft.

David M. Beers, 35, of Brunswick, will be sentenced June 7 for snatching 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) Zoey from Caisha and Timothy Wantz's driveway and throwing her out his car window driving over a bridge last June.

Neither Beers, a lanky Marine Corps veteran and wireless communications technician, nor his lawyer offered a reason for his actions Monday. Beers told police he was angry that the Wantzes had ordered him off their 25-acre property near Jefferson after he had stopped to make a cell phone call.

He said he thought their driveway, a quarter-mile dirt lane winding through hilly fields about 35 miles from Washington, was a utility road.

Beers left the property but returned a few minutes later when the Wantzes were gone, grabbed the white-and-tan Chihuahua and carried her in his car nearly four miles to the bridge, a concrete and rusted steel structure at least 20 feet above the water.

"As I drove across the Catoctin Creek bridge, I let the dog go while driving, out of the passenger window," Beers said in a written statement taken by police. The dog was never found.

Caisha Wantz, accompanied in Frederick County Circuit Court by her husband and a handful of supporters, said it was like losing a child.

"Someone took her away from us and killed her for completely senseless reasons," the 31-year-old home remodeler said after the hearing.

The couple have two other dogs — miniature pinschers. They also have a 3-year-old son and a 4-year-old niece who lives with them.

Defense attorney Eugene L. Souder Jr. said he had advised Beers, a father of five, not to plead out but to go to trial, partly because the state can't prove the dog died.

"He accepted the plea because he's an extremely religious man," Souder said. "He doesn't believe he could look himself and his family in the eye if he didn't accept responsibility for it."

Assistant State's Attorney Colleen K. Swanson said the state wants Beers to serve jail time plus three years of probation, get treatment for anger management and make restitution of $318, the amount the Wantzes paid for Zoey.

Brigitte Farrell, executive director of the Frederick County Humane Society, said there is no way Zoey could have survived the fall.

"When I think about what must have been going through her mind, it just makes me ill," Farrell said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments