Prosecutors: Man choked, fatally stabbed dog stolen from relatives

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EAST HAMPTON -

An East Hampton man is accused of brutally killing a dog stolen from his aunt and uncle.

Prosecutors say the incident stemmed from 21-year-old Jose Galvez-Garcia being "angry at his aunt" for the way she treated him, but officials didn't elaborate.

The assistant district attorney says the suspect's mother and stepfather noticed Galvez-Garcia was "acting weird and erratic" Sunday night. The aunt and uncle called looking for their dog, a 4-year-old cockapoo named Simba.

After prosecutors say Galvez-Garcia stole the dog from the front yard, they say he went to his mother's house, picked up a knife and shovel and headed toward the beach. They say Galvez-Garcia tried to strangle the dog but couldn't -- and he repeatedly stabbed Simba in the neck, head and torso.

A veterinarian says the dog's neck was snapped.

The suspect's aunt found Simba's body.

Prosecutors say there was a half-dug grave for the dog but that Garcia admitted he had been drinking and couldn't finish burying it.

Galvez-Garcia was arraigned on a felony animal cruelty charge and pleaded not guilty. Bail was set at $25,000. The judge made the suspect sign an order of protection to stay away from his mother, stepfather, aunt and uncle.

Galvez-Garcia has no prior arrests. Police say he gave no warning that he would hurt the dog.

Prosecutors say Galvez-Garcia has been in the U.S. from El Salvador on a work visa. He's been living in East Hampton for three years with his mother and stepfather.

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