Puppy Beating Investigation Heads to DA's Office

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Riverside County investigators' findings concerning a Los Angeles County fire official's alleged beating of a neighbor's puppy, which had to be euthanized last week, were referred Wednesday to the District Attorney's Office for review.

Assistant Los Angeles County Fire Chief Glynn Johnson is suspected of repeatedly hitting a 6-month-old puppy and trying to crush its skull with a rock outside his home in the 17000 block of Armintrout Drive, in the unincorporated community of Woodcrest.

Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said that after several days of trying to reach Johnson for questioning, investigators made contact with the 54-year-old suspect, but he "did not wish to participate in the interview."

"The investigation has been handed over to the district attorney's office for final disposition," Gutierrez said.

He declined to state what actions the sheriff's department was recommending in the case.

District attorney's spokesman Michael Jeandron said the D.A.'s office will "not be able to discuss any aspect of the case until we have made a complete and thorough review of all the evidence, facts and circumstances."

A section of the California Penal Code makes it a felony for anyone to maliciously and intentionally maim, torture or wound a living animal.

Around 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 3, Johnson's next-door neighbor's shepherd mix, Karley, apparently got loose and wandered into another neighbor's yard.

That neighbor, Travis Staggs, previously said he got hold of the dog and was in the midst of returning the pup to its owner's property when Johnson approached him and offered to carry the dog over himself.

Staggs alleged in a televised interview that Johnson started beating the pup without provocation. According to Staggs, Johnson tried to break the dog's jaws by prying them apart, then started hitting Karley in the head with a big rock.

Sheriff's Sgt. David Barton said Johnson told deputies who responded to the location later that Karley attacked him, and he "only struck it in self-defense."

Immediately afterward, Johnson was treated at a Riverside-area hospital for injuries to his wrist and thumb.

A veterinarian told Karley's owners, Jeff and Shelley Toole, that the dog had a crushed skull and brain damage, among other injuries, and the decision was made to euthanize the animal.

Johnson remains on paid administrative leave from the fire department pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Tooles have said they plan to sue him even if no criminal charges are filed.

Contact Us