Accused puppy-beater pleads not guilty

A 23-year-old man arrested last month on suspicion of severely beating a puppy in Antioch pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of animal cruelty Tuesday.

William Landers pleaded not guilty in a Martinez courtroom to a charge stemming from a Jan. 13 incident in which a puppy was beaten on West Eighth Street and G Street.

Antioch police responded at 8:18 a.m. that day and found a puppy looking lifeless and unable to move after a witness reported seeing Landers beating the dog.

Landers, who police said is a transient, told officers that the puppy fell out of the Target shopping cart the dog was in, and that Landers was trying to administer CPR.

A veterinarian later confirmed the dog had injuries consistent with being beaten. The dog’s body temperature dropped below being measurable.

Antioch Animal Services officials could not be immediately reached today for an update on the dog’s condition.