Cops say they got their killer — through DNA no less. It's an expensive and timely investigative technique. But for a homicide, it's worth it, right? In this case, though, the victims were … dogs.

Twenty-five-year-old Patrick Caleb Land pleaded not guilty in San Diego Superior Court this week to killing two canines that belonged to his ex-girlfriend.

He faces felony animal cruelty charges after it was discovered the pooches suffered fatal trauma last year. What's really sick is how prosecutors say he allegedly did it. The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Something was placed over the dogs' heads to restrain them while they were being beaten, the prosecutor said. Investigators learned that Land had long scratches on his arms the day the dogs died. His DNA was found under Pikanik's nails.

In September, prosecutors say, he called his live-in paramour to report that her 8-year-old golden retriever mix Josh had died. That dog was was cremated and is not part of this case.

Then death struck again: Land called her at work to say that Jackie, a 9-year-old white shepherd mix and Pikanik, a 4-year-old black-and-tan mixed-breed dog, were dead, according to the U-T.

Suspicious, she called in Animal Services. The Union-Tribune:

The veterinarian noted that the dogs had massive internal injuries and that it had taken 30 minutes or more for the animals to die from bleeding in the abdomen.

Land left for North Carolina a day after being interviewed by Animal Services. He was arrested there and extradited to Southern California.

Land indicates he indeed kicked the dogs — in self-defense.

LA Weekly