Police: Conewago man accused of torturing mother's dachshund

Harper Ho
York Dispatch
Travis Mervin Mitzel

A Conewago Township man was charged with animal cruelty after police said he tortured his mother's miniature dachshund.

Travis Mervin Mitzel, 29, of the 300 block of Butter Road, faces a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to an animal by torture and a misdemeanor cruelty to an animal charge.

Mitzel, 29, is free on a $20,000 bond. He was arrested and arraigned Feb. 28  before District Judge Keith L. Albright.

Northern York County Regional Police said Mitzel had threatened his mother "in the past about hurting and killing this specific dog" and "made it clear that he does not like this dog because it barks and growls at him."

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Northern York County Regional Police responded about 1:25 a.m. Sunday to Mitzel's residence after his mother reported him to police.

The woman said the 10-pound miniature dachshund was "acting odd and that it may be hurt" because it wasn't breathing right, according to charging documents.

The dog had multiple broken ribs, a collapsed lung, blood around its heart and air around the lungs, according to charging documents. 

The mother told police the animal was fine when she left the house about 2 p.m. and that Mitzel was home with the dog all day, according to the affidavit.

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When questioned by police, Mitzel denied any wrongdoing and said he doesn't know how the dog got injured.

"He later stated that he believes that someone could have came into the residence and beat the dog," according to charging documents. 

Northern Regional Lt. Gregg Anderson had reported Thursday that the dog survived.

Mitzel's mother told police her son had been charged with animal cruelty in another state, according to the affidavit.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled March 15 before District Judge David C. Eshbach.