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Man guilty of aggravated animal cruelty

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The 52-year-old Old Hickory man who beat a puppy to death in Lebanon last year was found guilty for aggravated animal cruelty in Judge David Durham’s courtroom Monday, Nov. 25.

Lebanon Police Officer Marlene Guthrie responded to the scene of the crime behind McDonald’s on South Cumberland on Nov. 2, 2012 after the department received complaints about a man throwing “a puppy or kitten into the woods.” Upon arrival Officer Guthrie observed a blood-covered David Matson.

Reports stated that after initially claiming he had tripped over a rock, Matson confessed to picking up a puppy earlier that day and beating it in the head with a tire iron before throwing it into a tree.

During the investigation it was also revealed by Matson that he was “passed up on a promotion” at the National Weather Service, his place of employment, and had taken out his angry on “at least five or six dogs.”

Reports also added that Matson asked officers if they had ever gotten “so angry that we wanted to hurt animals or maybe children” before he was placed in handcuffs.

New Leash on Life Director Amy Haverstick said that the guilty charge was a “win for companion animals.”

“I think that the Lebanon Police Department, City of Lebanon Animal Control and Officer Guthrie did a good job and I commend them,” she said of the trial, before warning folks about giving away animals online.

“This man apparently got the puppy ‘free to a good home’ on Craig’s List. Do not put animals up for adoption on Craig’s List. We warn people about this because you just don’t know where that animal is going,” Haverstick said. “At New Leash we do reference checks. When adopting it is best to go through a reputable shelter.”

Matson’s sentence hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 16, 2014.

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