Updated at the bottom: The man was formally charged and pleaded not guilty today.

A man whose alleged beating of a small black puppy was captured on cellphone video (on the next page) by a witness was on a metaphorical short leash in jail this week, according to authorities.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department says 53-year-old Robert Martin was spotted slamming the dog to the ground and punching it Friday morning.

Responding deputies got their hands on the video and tracked Martin down to his home, where he was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty, the department says:


Sheriff's inmate data shows that Martin was still behind bars overnight, jailed in downtown Los Angeles in lieu of $20,000 bail.

The alleged cruelty at Lancaster Boulevard and 5th Street East in Lancaster was reported at 7:20 a.m. Friday, the sheriff's department stated this week.

Deputies didn't identify the witness, but the Antelope Valley Times says it's 46-year-old Lindsey Cooks, who told the publication that the suspect allegedly responded to his calls to stop with racial slurs:

I told him, ‘that’s cruelty to animals,’ and then he said ‘shut up!’ and the n-word … 

According to the sheriff's statement:

Preliminary information revealed that a male, white adult was beating and slamming his dog on the ground. Upon the deputies’ arrival, deputies learned that the suspect was seen walking a small, black (mixed breed) dog on a leash before punching the dog several times.

The county Department of Animal Care and Control took the puppy to be treated, deputies said. He sustained only “superficial injuries,” according to the sheriff's statement.

The Antelope Valley Times says the canine appears to be a 6-month-old female pit bull terrier mix. County animal officials want to put her up for adoption after she has fully recovered.

[Update at 4:28 p.m.]: The L.A. County District Attorney's office says Martin pleaded not guilty today to “one felony count of cruelty to an animal.”

Prosecutors alleged in a statement this afternoon that he “body slammed and punched his six-month-old pit bull mix named Daisy in front of his house on the 500 block of East Lancaster Boulevard … “

Martin was due back in court Aug. 22.

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