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California man pleads not guilty to drowning dog in river


SACRAMENTO, Calif. » A Northern California man has pleaded not guilty to drowning his ex-girlfriend’s dog in the American River.

The Sacramento Bee reported Saturday that William Meek pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges in Superior Court. He is being held in jail without bail because of a pending felony charge in an unrelated case.

A judge earlier Friday found enough evidence to order a trial.

Meek’s ex-girlfriend, Mollie Wasemiller, testified that she had raised the 12-year-old border collie named Zelda since the dog was a puppy. Wasemiller testified that Zelda turned sensitive after being hit by a car and bit several people, including Wasemiller.

Finally, Wasemiller decided she couldn’t properly care for Zelda and asked Meek, 47, to take the dog to an animal shelter. Wasemiller testified that Meek left with the dog on June 11. Authorities say there are no records of Meek dropping off the dog with the animal shelter.

The dog was found a few days later in the river with a bowling ball and rock in a bag tied around its collar and identified through a microchip implant. The case prompted a slew of social media comments about animal abuse.

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