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Man accused of animal cruelty

Published February 3, 2007


LAND O'LAKES - A 20-year-old man accused of killing a 1 1/2-pound tea cup Chihuahua puppy last year was arrested Thursday by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

Christopher Clark of 6802 Sutton Oaks Lane in Zephyrhills was charged with animal cruelty.

The dog, named Marley, belonged to Clark's girlfriend at the time, Joanna Carr, 19. This is the account she gave authorities and the Pasco Times:

In late 2005, Clark bought the puppy for Carr. But the dog mostly stayed at Clark's house because Carr's family had five other dogs.

Clark quickly got jealous when Carr showed off the dog. A few times, Carr saw him hit Marley.

In January 2006, Clark called to tell Carr that the 13-week-old puppy was acting "weird" and bleeding from the nose.

Carr went to the house and found Marley was dead. Suspecting Clark had killed him, she took the dog in for an autopsy.

Dr. Jonathan Blake found that Marley was either kicked very hard or thrown against a hard surface, according to reports from Pasco County Animal Services.

Blake told an investigator that it was a painful death that would have taken five to 10 minutes. Two ribs were broken, the liver ruptured and the lungs collapsed. Blake said he believed the injuries were intentional.

Shortly after Marley's death, Carr broke off the relationship. She filed a complaint with the Sheriff's Office the same day she received the autopsy results, but Clark was hard to track down. She said he moved out of state for a while, but when she heard he was back in Zephyrhills, she alerted the Sheriff's Office.

Clark was released from the Land O'Lakes jail Thursday night in lieu of $10,000 bail. He could not be reached Friday for comment.

Losing Marley was hard, but Carr said it helped her examine her unhealthy relationship with Clark.

"It was a sad step but it helped me a lot," Carr said. "It helped me see the real person."

Gina Pace can be reached at 352 521-6518 or

[Last modified February 3, 2007, 00:10:20]

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