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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Soldier Stomps on and Kills Newly Adopted Dog and Breaks Puppy's Leg Before Bringing Him Back to Shelter

Pet Guardian Angel staff members says a Fort Bliss soldier was arrested for killing one dog and hurting another after just adopting them from the facility two weeks before.

"It's hard to believe people can do that to an animal," said Sheila Smith, an administrative assistant at PGA.

Staff members at the nonprofit animal shelter couldn't believe what they heard when a Fort Bliss official arrived at the facility.

"That's very upsetting. We trust these people. We try to screen them as best we can to see if they can be responsible pet owners," said Smith.

Smith, who helps get animals at PGA adopted, said a young military couple adopted two dogs from PGA two weeks ago. Now, they hear the one named Tinkerbelle is dead. And a puppy named Wrigley has a broken leg and was returned to PGA. PGA staff said Wrigley was taken to Eastwood Animal Clinic for a broken leg at the expense of their organization.

The staff said the Fort Bliss soldier, Frank Zimmerman, beat the dogs.

KFOX spoke to the soldier's wife over the phone and she said Zimmerman didn't mean to hurt the animals. She said when the dogs weren't listening he would take his anger out on them. She said, "Frank beat Tinkerbelle with a leash and he stomped on her until she died."

"Not all military people are like that. Again, it's the way they're raised," said Smith, who was active military for years.

It is unclear what charges, if any, were brought against Zimmerman, but PGA staff says animal cruelty needs to be prosecuted better in El Paso.

"They need to be more strict. If someone is willing to harm an animal he's willing to kill a person. That's our concept," said Smith said.

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