- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

CARLTON, Minn. (AP) - A Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy accused of repeatedly hitting his police dog has pleaded guilty to a charge in Carlton County.

Brett Berry, 48, of Arden Hills was charged in June with animal cruelty and assaulting a public safety dog, both misdemeanors. He pleaded guilty to animal cruelty Tuesday, and the other charge would be dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Berry was staying at the Black Bear Casino and Resort with other sheriff’s deputies for K-9 certification trials in June when security video showed him beating his K-9 partner, Boone. Casino security staff told Carlton County sheriff’s deputies that Berry was asked by security to leave the resort lounge earlier that evening after customers reported “unwanted advances.”

On video, security observed Berry return to his hotel room and then walk to the parking lot with his dog. The video shows Berry getting upset with the dog and yelling at it before slamming it to the ground.

A criminal complaint said the dog appeared afraid of Berry and ran from him, getting stuck between two doors in a lobby vestibule. The complaint says Berry began beating the dog on the shoulders and ribs.

In court Tuesday, Boone said he was “blackout drunk” when he hit the dog. Kevin Short, Berry’s attorney, said Berry “struck his dog in a way that is inexcusable.”

“He said that in court. And that has been his position all along,” Short said.

Berry was placed on administrative leave and then assigned to the detention division. His K-9 partner is back at work with a new handler. No injuries were found on the dog.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 17. The judge deferred whether to accept the plea deal until then, but didn’t indicate she won’t accept it.

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