"I knew from watching the whole incident the dog wasn't going to make it. It just was a gruesome sight," said eyewitness Travis Staggs.
The puppy was a German shepherd mix named "Karley." She was six months old when neighbor Travis Staggs witnessed the incident that he says eventually led to the animal's death.
"He was prying her jaws apart and grabbed a rock and started beating her with a rock," said Staggs.
"It's just ... indescribable," said Brandon Toole, the dog's owner. "I don't ... it was just sick. It's horrific to look at."
Was it an unprovoked attack on the animal or did the dog attack first, making the neighbor's actions self defense?
Dr. Angela Howard is the veterinarian who worked on Karley. She said the animal was so badly beaten she had to be put down.
"I've never seen a dog come in with that level of head injury," said Dr. Howard. "I've seen pets who have been hit by cars and they were thrown by the car and suffered fractures to the nose or skull but I've never seen a case where their head was that badly damaged."
Eyewitness News talked with the man who admits he beat the dog. He's an assistant fire chief in L.A. County. His name is Glynn Johnson. He said his attorney told him not to speak to ABC7 on camera, but he did agree to talk inside his home.
Johnson called the beating an unfortunate accident. He said the dog locked its jaws on his thumb and he was just doing whatever it took to protect himself. The Sheriff's Department is investigating.
"Same incident with two different stories, and that's the challenge for law enforcement, whether it's this or any other case," said Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. Sergeant Dennis Gutierrez.
The L.A. County Fire Department released this statement: "Given the nature of the allegations and the ongoing Riverside County Sheriff's investigation, Chief Johnson has been placed on administrative leave (with pay). Once more facts are available, the Department will take appropriate action as warranted."
As for Karley's owner, Brandon Toole, he says he knows exactly what kind of action he wants to see.
"Him in jail for the rest of his life," said Toole.
Glynn Johnson does have a large bandage on his thumb. Eyewitness News tried to talk to his attorney on camera and get some comment, but the attorney has not replied.
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