SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who beat his girlfriend's three dogs to death in the couple's College-area home last fall pleaded guilty Friday to multiple animal abuse charges.
Patrick Caleb Land -- who has a 2005 conviction from North Carolina for breaking and entering -- faces five years and four months in state prison when he is sentenced Nov. 8.
Deputy District Attorney Garrett Randall told a judge in May that Land called his girlfriend last Sept. 20, telling her that he had come home to find Josh, her 60-pound, 8-year-old Golden Retriever mix, dead.
No necropsy was performed on that dog, the prosecutor said.
Three weeks later, on Oct. 14, Land again called his girlfriend to tell her that he had found her dogs Jackie, a 9-year-old, 70-pound white Shepard mix, and Pikanik, a 50-pound mixed breed, dead in a bedroom.
This time, the woman ordered necropsies on the dogs and a veterinarian determined they were beaten to death, Randall said.
Jenna Rushie, a roommate at the time, testified at a preliminary hearing that she discovered Josh's body with Land on Sept. 20 and helped him clean up the mess. Rushie said she didn't suspect Land of any wrongdoing in the dog's deaths.
Three weeks later, Rushie said Land called her into his bedroom to show her the dead bodies of Jackie and Pikanik.
Rushie said Land was "freaking out and screaming."
Land, 25, even suggested someone had broken into the home and killed the dogs, Rushie testified.
The witness said Land's girlfriend cared for the dogs and Land sometimes complained that she spent more time with them than she did with him.
The day after Jackie and Pikanik died, police and animal control officers were asking questions, and the following day Land disappeared, Rushie said.
Randall said the two dogs that died on Oct. 14 had massive internal injuries and bled to death.
He said there was evidence also that there were attempts to suffocate the animals and restrain them with something over their heads to prevent them from biting and barking.
Veterinarian Dr. Monica Clare testified that Jackie and Pikanik were each hit with a number of blows and would have had to be restrained to continue taking a beating.
"An awake dog would not sit there and take this," Clare testified.
Land said scratches he had on his body after Jackie and Pikanik died were the result of him falling into a bush, according to the prosecutor.
The defendant's DNA was found under one of the dogs' nails, Randall said.
After Land's April 19 arrest in Greensboro, N.C., the defendant said he was trying to give one of the dogs eye medication about 2 p.m. when the other canine attacked him, according to the prosecutor.
Land told authorities he returned to the home at about 4 p.m. and found the dogs dead on the bedroom floor, Randall said.
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