- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Northeast man seeking revenge for a robbery dropped a 100-pound cement block on a sleeping puppy, D.C. police said.

Sean Delontay Branch, 24, could face up to five years behind bars for what Scott Giacoppo, vice president of external affairs and chief programs officer of the Washington Humane Society, called “indefensible” and an “extreme act of cruelty — one of the worst I have seen in my career.”

According to court documents, the bashed and bloody body of 6-month-old King Tut was found at about 10:30 a.m. June 29 behind the Circle 7 convenience store on Mount Olivet Road Northeast.

Police who responded to the incident were told by the animal’s owner that “he knew who killed his dog,” a man claiming to have been robbed the night before by King Tut’s owner - which the dog’s owner denied.

Mr. Branch himself came to police days after King Tut was killed, court documents show, to talk to police about allegedly being assaulted with a glass bottle wielded by the dog’s owner.

Mr. Branch “stated that he accidentally killed the man’s dog the day prior,” which he told police had spurred the dog’s owner to attack him.

Asked by police to recount what happened with the dog, Mr. Branch said he was looking for a shady spot to sit behind the convenience store, and tossed a rock out of his way to make space.

“He said that one stone … accidentally landed on the head of the dog,” court papers show. “When he saw what he did, he quickly walked away because he knew [the owner] would be mad and had a temper.”

Officers at the scenethe day the dog diedstate in court papers that the animal was lying next to the building, covered in newspapers, with no other rocks around except one that had blood and fur on it.

King Tut’s owner told police that he had only left the puppy alone for five minutes behind a building where people were milling around.

Officer Michael Triebwasser, a law enforcement officer with the humane society, said no eyewitnesses have come forward. In court documents, at least one person ran to tell the puppy’s owner that someone had dropped a blockon its head, and saw Mr. Branch walk away “like it was nothing.”

Mr. Triebwasser said King Tut was a pit bull-type dog. Despite the breed’s reputation as offensive and ferocious, when the puppy was attacked, it looked “like he was just sleeping there, not bothering anybody.”

“I think it’s such an egregious crime,” he said. “It was a 6-month-old puppy. He was literally just lying there, being the perfect dog, and he just had his life ended for no reason.”

Mr. Branch is due in court July 31 on a felony count of animal cruelty.

The humane society and the Trinidad Neighborhood Association posted fliers with the graphic image of the dead animal,asking for any help in finding King Tut’s killer.

An online memorial established in King Tut’s name through the Washington Humane Society has already raised $1,000.

A message on the site said the money donated goes toward “efforts to educate the community about animal welfare issues, to stop cruelty, and to help prevent future incidents” like the death of King Tut.



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