METHUEN — A Methuen man said he killed his pet bulldog with a hammer because the animal was sick and he didn't have money to pay a veterinarian, investigators said.
Charles Berube, 53, 189 Oakland Ave., has been charged with cruelty to an animal by a custodian and cruelty to an animal.
The case was continued to Aug. 20, for a jury trial yesterday in Lawrence District Court.
Investigators were called to Berube's house last July 14, for a report that Berube had killed his dog.
According to reports filed in the case by Officer Martha Parkhurst of the MSPCA's Law Enforcement Department, Berube told investigators that Spot, an American bulldog, had been sick for five to six weeks, and had lost a lot of weight.
Spot's legs were swollen and the dog had trouble walking, Berube told investigators.
Berube told investigators he did not have any money to take Spot to the veterinarian, and did not want him to suffer anymore.
He said Spot had been his pet for 10 years.
Berube told investigators that on July 13, about 4 p.m., he killed Spot by striking him in the head with the claw end of a hammer, and may have hit the dog two or three times.
Berube told investigators he buried the dog in his backyard and later gave permission for the dog to be dug up so a veterinarian could look at him. He also gave investigators the hammer he used to put his dog down.
Berube told police he was aware of the MSPCA shelter at Nevins Farm, but did not want to burden the shelter with his dog.
The corpse was taken to Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine for an autopsy, but the results were not available in the court file.
Each of the two charges carries a penalty of up to two and a half years in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Berube is represented by attorney Gerard LaFlamme Jr. of Haverhill.
LaFlamme declined to comment on the case yesterday and said he had instructed Berube not to talk to reporters about the case.