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L.A. County fire official arrested in dog's beating

A neighbor's pet is euthanized because of extensive injuries. The suspect says he acted in self-defense.

November 08, 2008|James Wagner | Wagner is a Times staff writer.

A Riverside teenager who left home to run an errand came home 20 minutes later to find paramedics, police and a firetruck outside his home. A neighbor took him to see the family dog, beaten and bleeding under a bush.

The female dog, a 6-month-old shepherd mix named Karley, allegedly was beaten by a neighbor, Los Angeles County Assistant Fire Chief Glynn Johnson, who was placed on administrative leave Friday while the incident is investigated.

Johnson reportedly told investigators that he had acted in self-defense.

Karley was euthanized a few hours after the incident, which occurred about 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Karley apparently had run across Johnson's yard and into the next yard.

Travis Staggs said he started walking the dog home from his yard when Johnson offered to take Karley home.

"Then something in his head snapped and he started beating the dog," Staggs said.

Johnson allegedly punched Karley with a closed fist about a dozen times and then beat her with an 11-inch rock, Staggs said, adding that he tried to stop Johnson but was pushed away.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, November 09, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 52 words Type of Material: Correction
Dog beating: A headline on an article in Saturday's California section about the beating of a dog in Riverside said that a Los Angeles County fire official had been arrested in the case. The official, Assistant Fire Chief Glynn Johnson, was not arrested. He was placed on administrative leave from his job.

Authorities received two calls from the 17000 block of Armintrout Drive: one from a woman who said her husband was attacked by a dog, and another from a man who said his neighbor had beaten a dog, Riverside County Sheriff's Sgt. David Barton said in a statement.

After Brandon Toole, 19, saw the injured dog, his 17-year-old sister, Heather, rushed the animal to a veterinarian, and later an animal intensive care unit.

Karley was euthanized because she was so badly injured, said Jeff Toole, the teenagers' father.

"I can't describe the way [Karley] looked and the pain she was in," Brandon Toole said.

Police said Johnson was taken to a hospital for wrist and thumb injuries.

Jeff Toole said the thumb puncture occurred when Johnson grabbed Karley's mouth and broke her jaw.

Johnson told his bosses about the incident, which he described as self-defense, said Los Angeles County Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman.

"The Los Angeles County Fire Department is deeply concerned with allegations regarding Assistant Chief Glynn Johnson's actions in the beating of his neighbor's dog," Freeman said in a statement.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is investigating. Malicious and intentional injuring of an animal is a felony.

The Toole family said Karley was a well-behaved dog.

"We are going to have to find another place to live," Jeff Toole said.

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james.wagner@latimes.com

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