Man charged with death of neighbor's dog

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

On Friday, April 18, charges were filed against a New Prague man in the death of a neighbor's dog.

Anton Steven Metzenhuber, 34, was charged in Rice County District Court with torture or cruelty to an animal resulting in death or great bodily harm, theft and receiving stolen property. The torture of an animal charge carries the greatest penalty with a maximum of two years in jail and/or a fine of $5,000. The other two charges each carry a penalty of 90 days and/or a fine of $1,000.

Metzenhuber has denied any involvement in the case.

According to the New Prague Police Department, the neighbor Norman Hallet, 76, of New Prague reported to police on Monday, April 7, that his dog Buddy, a miniature beagle, had been missing since Sunday, April 6.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Sgt. Joe Frear reported to police that a dog matching Buddy's description was found in the channel between Cody-Phelps Lake, near Lonsdale in Rice County, on Tuesday, April 8. The dog had been found submerged in the channel with an approximately 9-foot-long white nylon rope tied to its neck with a noose and an approximately nine-and-a-half to seven-and-a-half inch piece of concrete block tied to the other end of the rope.

Sgt. Frear suspected the dog, which didn't have a collar, had been drowned as it did not have any other visible injuries. He emailed pictures of the dog to the New Prague Police Department. Police Chief Mark Vosejpka showed the pictures to Hallet. He and his daughter Mary Alt identified the dog as Buddy.

According to the criminal complaint, on Wednesday, April 16, Chief Vosejpka interviewed a man who said during a recent visit with Metzenhuber, he (Metzenhuber) pulled out a white rope with a noose in it and made what Palm thought was supposed to be a joke about taking care of Buddy with this rope.

Palm identified the rope and noose found on Buddy as the same one he had seen. Palm also stated he saw mud on Metzenhuber's truck on Monday

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