- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) - A Lakeland teenager has been found guilty of fatally stabbing a puppy with a stick.

The Ledger (https://bit.ly/1QXicEf ) reports a jury on Tuesday found 18-year-old Cody Rutledge guilty of cruelty to animals, a third-degree felony that could carry a five-year prison sentence.

Rutledge had been accused of killing the dog in June.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigators say Brandy Siniard, the puppy’s owner, was having her neighbor Shawn Minnis watch over the dog. Minnis says she heard the dog barking outside her house and found two males, including Rutledge, running away from her backyard and the dog on the ground.

The dog suffered three broken ribs and a collapsed lung and died from trauma after having surgery.

Circuit Judge Wayne Durden is scheduled to sentence Rutledge on March 24.

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Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.), https://www.theledger.com

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