Former Army Sgt. Michael Paul Scelia, 23, was accused in a Tuesday indictment of killing his girlfriend’s dog.
The charge of aggravated cruelty to animals stems from a Nov. 17, 2008, incident, when Scelia allegedly caused the dog’s death.
The dog, a 3-pound Papillon named Oliver, was bought by Scelia in August 2008 for his girlfriend, according to her mother. Her daughter came home on that day after visiting the gym and found the dog dead on a bed.
“The soldier’s alleged to have killed a small puppy belonging to his girlfriend and himself,” said Assistant District Attorney Michael Craig. “The grand jury made their decision, and we’re prepared to prosecute it.”
Defense attorney Stacey Jackson, who represents Scelia, said the accusations against his client are motivated by revenge.
“He maintains he did not in any way, shape or form hurt the animal,” Jackson said of Scelia. “He totally denies these charges.”
Scelia is also indicted on a charge of simple battery for a Jan. 26, 2009, incident. He’s accused of head-butting a woman.
Scelia is out on bond. He voluntarily left the Army, which gave him an honorable discharge, Jackson said. Scelia is enrolled in college and plans to rejoin the military after his case is resolved.
According to Georgia law, someone convicted of aggravated cruelty to animals faces one to five years in prison.