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Police: Man punched puppy in its ribs, dragged it for 30 yards

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A York City man punched his 10- or 12-week-old puppy in the ribs in full view of a police officer, who has filed an animal cruelty charge against the man.

Anthony Castro, 29, of the 700 block of Jessop Place, remains free and has not yet been arraigned on his second-degree misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals as of Tuesday, according to court records.

Charging documents filed by York City Police Officer Tyler Benton state that the officer was in his patrol cruiser along McKenzie Street, not far from the corner of East Springettsbury Avenue, at 3:40 p.m. April 16 when he watched Castro.

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Castro dragged the "very small pit bull puppy" by its leash for about 30 yards, with the pup's front two legs entirely off the ground, documents allege.

He then punched the puppy in the ribs hard enough to possibly injure it, documents state. It remains unclear whether the puppy suffered broken ribs or other injuries.

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Castro "grabbed the puppy by the neck with one hand and then with a closed fist, punched the puppy in the rib area," Benton wrote in court documents. "I witnessed the puppy then shoot back between the defendant's legs roughly a foot from how much power the defendant used to strike the puppy."

Benton said the dog weighed no more than 15 pounds. It's not known whether the puppy needed veterinary care.

For now, the puppy remains in Castro's custody, although that is being reviewed, according to Officer Derek Hartman, the department's spokesperson.

Castro could not be reached for comment. It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.