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Indiana man charged in beating deaths of two dogs stolen from home

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Anthony Priestas

UPDATE: 

On Nov. 1, 2018, a jury cleared 24-year-old Anthony Priestas of two felony counts of killing a domestic animal.

ORIGINAL STORY: 

VALPARAISO, Ind. — Authorities say a northwestern Indiana man stole two pugs from a home and beat them to death in a rural area.

Anthony Priestas, 23, of Hammond was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of killing a domestic animal. He remained at the Porter County Jail on Thursday.

Online records don’t list an attorney who could speak on his behalf. Police say it’s unclear whether Priestas knew the dogs’ owner.

The Porter County Sheriff’s Department says Priestas stole two pug dogs from a Lake County home on Feb. 21 and drove them to rural Porter County.

According to The Northwest Indiana Times, authorities say Priestas was seen beating the dogs before throwing them into water.

Porter County Animal Shelter Director Toni Bianchi says a nearby resident tried to stop Priestas, but he drove away.

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