'Out of control' man arrested after punching puppy's face

'Out of control' man arrested after punching puppy's face
Photos courtesy of the Lewis County Sheriff's Office.

ETHEL, Wash. -- A 19-year-old man was arrested after police said he not only punched a puppy in the face, but also threw it against a tree.

Jesse Pegram, 19, was booked for investigation of first-degree animal cruelty early Friday morning. He was also referred for being a minor in possession of alcohol.

Pegram's arrest stemmed from an incident that happened around 1 a.m. Friday. Pegram's family called police because the man was acting disorderly. When officers arrived, they found Pegram, drunk and agitated, in the street of Oyler Road.

Family members said he was "out of control" and at one point punched the family's five-month-old German Shepherd in the face. Deputies were also told they thought Pegram had thrown the puppy against a tree.

Police found the puppy and noticed obvious injuries to her face, including an extremely swollen and bloodshot eye. The puppy was also limping.

Due to the extent of the injuries, the deputy called a veterinarian who agreed to meet the deputy at a clinic to evaluate the puppy. Family members did not have transportation to take the puppy themselves so the deputy took the dog and one of the family members to the clinic.

After an exam, the veterinarian told the deputy the dog had injuries consistent with head trauma and that the dog had a leg injury, but no obvious fractures. The veterinarian kept the dog overnight for evaluation.

“I am very proud of the deputy’s actions in this incident. Our office is dedicated to protecting life and property and this deputy’s compassion, concern, and action towards this puppy was in line with the ethical values that I expect my deputies to exhibit," said Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield. "His swift action both in going above and beyond to seek medical care for this animal in the middle of the night, and transporting it to a veterinary clinic made a positive difference for this animal and its owners. I am also grateful for the willingness of the veterinarian to assist us in caring for the puppy and the partnerships we have built with them over the years."