Port Orchard man jailed in abuse of elderly, arthritic dog


PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - A Port Orchard man has pleaded guilty to first-degree animal cruelty after he allegedly punched an arthritic 13-year-old dog so hard that the animal's heart was displaced.


Daniel Joseph Heidt, 25, had been watching the dog, Cuppie, after the animal's owner moved into a place that doesn't allow animals while the owner looked for a new home.


According to court documents, on June 30, 2012, police dispatch was advised of the incident and the dog's owner was at the scene.  The responding officer found the dog in a catatonic state, lying in a blanket and not moving.


Witnesses said Heidt threatened to kill Cuppie a number of times and was bothered by her constant panting and accidents in the house.  He told them he wanted her gone, she was too old and he wanted a pit bull, according to the documents.


Roommates told police they would leave for two or three days and that he admitted to not feeding or giving Cuppie water.  He was also seen a number of times pushing her back end down until her rear legs would buckle.


Around 10 p.m. on June 28, 2012, a witness saw Heidt hit Cuppie on the left ribcage, then hold her down and hold her mouth closed for 10 to 15 minutes.  During this time Cuppie tried to get up but because of her arthritis was unable, according to the documents.


Cuppie was euthanized by a veterinarian on June 30.   Dr. Krueger of All Creatures Animal Hospital examined Cuppie and found recent bruises on her thorax and both sides of her rib cage, and her heart was displaced.  The vet told police for the heart to be where it was located, the dog would have had to have been punched or thrown really hard.


Heidt pleaded guilty to first-degree animal cruelty and is serving a 45-day sentence. He must pay restitution to the owner and is not allowed to live in a home with animals.


Heidt previously was convicted of second-degree robbery for aiding a man who robbed a Wheaton Way KeyBank in September 2010.