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SAVAGE, Minn. - A south metro man is charged with animal cruelty after trying to kill his dog with a hammer.

The felony animal cruelty charge is one of four levied against 71-year-old Rudolph William Poppe, who was taken into custody on July 12.

Savage police were called to an address on the 13400 block of South Alabama Avenue that Friday after someone reported a man beating a dog with a sledge hammer.

When officers arrived they found neighbors screaming and crying, and Poppe standingnear his elderly golden retriever, who was laying on the ground. The dog had a white plastic bag tied to its head and was laying in a pool of blood.

The defendant's shirt wasalso spattered in blood.

Police told Poppe he was under arrest, but when they tried to handcuff him thedefendant resisted and refused commands to put his hands behind his back. Officers struggled to get him handcuffed and eventually had to use two sets tosubdue him.They sayPoppe continued fighting with officers until they managed toget him inside a squad car.

The dog was rushed to a vet clinic with a badly crushed skull, and was later put down due to its severe injuries.

A neighbor told officers he was outside of his home when he heard Poppe swearing loudly. He went tothe defendant's home to see what the problem was and saw Poppe come out of his house with the dog and the sledgehammer. When Poppe told the neighbor he was going to put his dog out ofhis misery, the neighbor offered to take the animal to the vet to be put down. Instead, the man says Poppe began hitting the dog in the head, as many as 15 times before he could call 911.

After his arrest Poppe told investigators that his dog was old, could barely walk and had defecated on the floor. When detectives asked why he didn't take the dog to a veterinarian, Poppe didn't answer.

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