Alleged puppy abuser appears in court

A San Francisco man accused of abusing a 10-month-old puppy made his first appearance in court Thursday following his arrest on Saturday.

Zi Xuan Liu, 26, allegedly hit, kicked and otherwise mistreated a male Shiba Inu puppy named Aniki, according to Animal Care and Control officials.

The incident was captured on security camera footage, according to agency spokeswoman Deb Campbell.

However, defense attorney Suzan Yee Thursday questioned why prosecutors had chosen to charge Liu with felony animal cruelty:

“This is a serious allegation of abuse of an animal and I just read a report where there is no substantial injury to the animal.”

Campbell said Aniki is in the care of animal control officials and being treated for abrasions and other injuries. His long-term status, including whether he will eventually be put up for adoption, remains undetermined at this time.

Liu, who is out of custody on $15,000 bail, delayed entering a plea and is scheduled to return to court on May 26.

The charges carry fines of up to $20,000 or possible jail time, animal control officials said at the time of his arrest.