Case Snapshot
Case ID: 15593
Classification: Beating, Throwing
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Saturday, Mar 21, 2009

County: Salt Lake

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Anthony Spidle

Case Updates: 6 update(s) available

A man is in jail for beating his ex-girlfriend's puppy and recording it on her voice mail. Anthony Spidle, 21, and his girlfriend broke up several months ago. Jail documents say he beat the dog because his ex-girlfriend didn't love him anymore.

Since the Legislature passed stricter animal abuse laws, Spidel is the second person to face felony charges for animal abuse.

Temma Martin, with the Utah Animal Adoption Center, said, "In hearing the details of what the perpetrator did to the dog, it's absolutely heartbreaking."

Court documents reveal the abuse this puppy endured, allegedly at the hands of Spidle. Prosecutors say on March 21, Spidle's ex-girlfriend received voice mails from Spidle.

She could hear "the sound of the puppy yelping severely, being thrown around and being beaten in the background."

She also heard Spidle saying, "She doesn't love me, and she doesn't love you."

Two people, who live with Spidle in a West Valley City home, told police Spidle was angry.

One of them told authorities when Spidle came upstairs with the dog, he became angry again, "grabbed the puppy by the legs, swung him around and threw him against the wall. He then beat the dog with a skateboard and tennis racket."

He then jumped on the puppy's head and throat, "yelling that he was going to kill him, cut off his head" and give it to his ex-girlfriend.

Christy Sevy, lead tech at Advanced Veterinary Care, said, "It was definitely surprising. The right kind of blow could have taken the patient."

Vets at the animal hospital treated the 6-month-old yellow Lab and pit bull mix named Gabriella. Sevy said, "When she came in, she was bleeding from the nose. She had some trauma to one of her eyes."

Martin says the dog will be scarred for life. "Unfortunately we see dogs come through the shelter all the time that are clearly afraid of men and haven't survived anything like this incident," she said.

The ex-girlfriend tells the Deseret News she doesn't know what prompted the attack. She says her two-year relationship with Spidle had been abusive at times.

Martin says she's not surprised that relationship was abusive. "It's the last piece of control the abuser has over that victim," Martin said. "It's been shown that this often happens when a victim gets out of a situation, then the pet takes the brunt of the violence."

Animal advocates say this case shows the link between domestic violence and animal abuse. Martin said, "It's reassuring to know that somebody's going to be punished at the level they deserve to be for doing something as horrible as this."

Court records show Spidle was charged with assault in 2007. Last year, he was also charged with assault and simple assault in a domestic violence-related case. Both cases were dismissed.

The ex-girlfriend told KSL Spidle kept the dog because she couldn't have any more pets at her house.

The puppy is now with a relative and doing better. The Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah has set up a fund to help with medical bills. If you would like to make a donation, you can e-mail them at or call 801-347-3345.

He will make his initial appearance Friday, March 27.

Case Updates

A 22-year-old West Valley City man serving up to five years in prison for stomping on the head of his girlfriend’s 6-month-old puppy and throwing the animal against a wall last year said Tuesday he is struggling to understand his actions.

“All I’ve been trying to do since I got here [prison] is work on myself and figure out why I act the way I do,” Anthony Richard Spidle said during a hearing before the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

Spidle, who pleaded guilty to third-degree felony animal cruelty for harming the dog, is believed to be the first adult prosecuted under a 2008 law that raised the penalty for the torture of dogs and cats above a misdemeanor. He is serving a concurrent five-year term for third-degree felony witness tampering for asking his girlfriend not to come to court and testify against him.

Spidle had never before harmed an animal, but he has a history of beating women, said parole board member Jesse Gallegos, who said he will recommend Spidle be paroled next May, after having served 23 months behind bars.

As a condition of his release, Spidle must complete a prison treatment program that focuses on substance abuse. Gallegos said he also wants Spidle to complete an anger management course.

The March 2009 attack on the puppy, Gabriella, occurred after the girlfriend broke up with Spidle.

“She hurt me and the only way I knew to hurt her back was with the animal,” Spidle said. “I know that was wrong.”

Spidle stomped on the puppy, threw it against a wall and struck it with a skateboard and a tennis racket " all while leaving his girlfriend a voice mail.

When the woman later listened to the message she could hear the beating, the puppy yelping and Spidle saying, “She doesn’t love me and she doesn’t love you!”
Source: - Jun 29, 2010
Update posted on Jun 29, 2010 - 7:07PM 
A man accused of beating his ex-girlfriend's puppy was sentenced Friday morning to 0 to 5 years in prison. Anthony Spidle pleaded guilty to third degree felony cruelty to animals. He was the first to be charged and sentenced under Utah's new animal cruelty laws.

On March 21, 2009 Spidle beat his ex-girlfriend's puppy while recording it all on voice mail. Instead of facing the prospect of going before a jury he took a plea deal. He entered a guilty plea to felony animal cruelty and one count of witness tampering. Spidle kicked, stomped, and beat a six-month old lab-mix named Gabriella with a skateboard.

His family says his actions are out of character, despite a history of domestic violence.

Gene Barierschmidt with the Humane Society of Utah says, “With the new torture animal cruelty code that's on the books right now that he'll be sentenced for a significant time and we hope that this case sets a president for future cases dealing with animal torture.”

The Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah wanted the court to send a message loud and clear that this type of violence will not be tolerated in our state, and that Mr. Spidle should serve a long sentence, have in-patient mental health counseling, and have absolutely no contact with any animals until any imposed period of probation ends.

Animal advocates say this case shows the link between domestic violence and animal abuse.

Spidle faced a possible five years in prison and a 5-thousand dollar fine. Gabriella the puppy physically recovered but veterinarians say the dog will most likely be scarred for life.

The sentencing took place at the Matheson Courthouse before Judge William Barrett.
Source: - Mar 5, 2010
Update posted on Mar 5, 2010 - 6:22PM 
The sentencing for a Utah man accused of beating, kicking and stomping his ex-girlfriends dog has been pushed back to March 2010.

Anthony Spidle plead guilty to a third degree felony charge of animal torture. He is the first Utah adult to be convicted under the new animal cruelty laws.

prosecutors say Spidle beat the dog with a skateboard, recording the animals cries on the ex-girlfriends answering machine. The dog suffered injuries to her brain, eyes, bones and internal organs.
Source: ABC4 News - January 29, 2010
Update posted on Jan 31, 2010 - 10:30PM 
Anthony Spidle plead guilty to felony torture of a companion animal and felony witness tampering this morning. His sentencing is scheduled for January 29, 2010.
Source: Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah - Nov 18, 2009
Update posted on Nov 18, 2009 - 12:39PM 
An animal cruelty case set to go to trial next week may result in the first conviction under a new animal cruelty law, making it possible for those who torture an animal to be charged with a third-degree felony. Anthony Spidle is accused of severely beating his ex-girlfriend’s dog. Gene Baierschmidt, executive director of the Utah Humane Society, says a felony conviction for Spidle would send a message that animal cruelty is unacceptable.

“What we’re hoping is that the public watches and it sends a message to other people in Utah as a deterrent that if you’re going to torture a dog or cat in Utah, it’s not going to be treated lightly, and you could go to jail for it,” he said.

The trial has been set for next Thursday in Third District Court in Salt Lake City.

Spidle’s attorney, Rhome Zabriskie, says the defense team will argue that Spidle’s conduct merits only a misdemeanor charge, not a felony.

“As we’ve been working this case up for trial, and in anticipation of it going to trial, what we’ve given a lot of consideration to is whether the degree of injury caused to the animal and the depravity on the department of the defendant measured up to the felony standard, as opposed to the misdemeanor standard,” Zabriskie told KCPW.

Zabriskie believes there’s still the possibility of a plea bargain, but is preparing for the case to go to trial.
Source: KCPW - Nov 11, 2009
Update posted on Nov 12, 2009 - 2:31PM 
A man accused of assaulting his girlfriend and torturing her puppy wants more time to consider a plea deal offered by prosecutors.

But after a hearing Thursday in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City, prosecutors consider the offer rejected.

"I think there will be a resolution in this case. I think it will be soon," Anthony Spidle's attorney, Mike Peterson, told the judge. "He's not trying to be obstructionist."

As animal-rights activists and the alleged victim looked on, prosecutors indicated that with a series of delays in the case, they were ready to remove the offer.

"I think it's at this point the state has an obligation to move forward on charges yet to be filed," said prosecutor Greg Ferbrache. "The state considers the offer rejected."

Spidle, 21, is charged with animal cruelty, a third-degree felony, and attempted aggravated assault, a class A misdemeanor. He is accused of badly beating his girlfriend's 6-month-old puppy, Gabriella, by hitting it with a skateboard and a tennis racket and tossing the animal up against a wall " all while it was being recorded on her voice mail for her to hear.

Spidle is the first adult to be charged under a new animal torture law passed by the Utah Legislature to crack down on animal-cruelty cases by elevating them to felonies. Ann Davis, the director of the Animal Advocacy Alliance of Utah, left the court somewhat frustrated by another delay in the case, but said it is good that the system is moving forward against Spidle.

"It's working. The law is working," she said of the felony charge.

The judge hearing the case also expressed frustration at the delays, saying that if a resolution wasn't reached by June 15, he would set it for trial. Peterson asked for a disposition hearing, apparently hopeful that a plea deal can still be struck.

Davis, who is caring for Gabriella, said the 8-month-old dog has fully recovered.

"This dog is wonderful," she said. "She's been through a lot, obviously. She's a loving, sweet dog."
Source: Deseret News - May 21, 2009
Update posted on Jun 26, 2009 - 3:12PM 


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