LANCASTER – The 53-year-old Lancaster man seen in a cell phone video abusing and slamming a puppy onto a Lancaster street last Friday has pleaded not guilty.
Robert Emmett Martin pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one felony count of cruelty to an animal, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Martin was released from custody on his own recognizance at around 5 p.m., Tuesday, according to an operator at the Los Angeles County jail.
Martin returns to the Antelope Valley courthouse on Aug. 22 for a preliminary court hearing. At the conclusion of that hearing, a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence against Martin for the case to go to trial.
The case stems from an incident that occurred around 7:30 a.m., Friday, August 8.
Martin allegedly body slammed and punched his six-month-old pit bull mix named Daisy in front of his house on the 500 block of East Lancaster Boulevard.
Lancaster resident Lindsey Cooks told The AV Times that he witnessed the incident and recorded a portion of it on his cell phone. (View the graphic video below. Warning: The video contains offensive language.)
Cooks said he was waiting at a bus stop when he saw Martin abusing the dog; and when he warned Martin about the behavior, Martin called him a “n*gger.”
“He took the dog up and swung the dog on his head… so I called the police,” Cooks said in a phone interview on Aug. 10.
Deputies responded to the scene, viewed the cell phone video and arrested Martin at his home. While animal control officers picked up Daisy and took her to the Lancaster Animal Shelter.
Daisy has no outward injuries, animal control officers said, but the puppy is going to a foster home for about two weeks to recover from the mental trauma before she can be placed up for adoption.
If convicted as charged, Martin faces a maximum penalty of three years in jail, the prosecutor said.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Lancaster Station.
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