Bay Area couple charged in burning death of their dog

SAN MATEO COUNTY (KRON) — San Mateo County prosecutors have released the specific charges faced by a Bay Area couple in the burning death of their dog.

Paul Souter is charged with felony counts of maliciously and intentionally wounding an animal and failing to provide proper care to an animal, according to Deputy District Attorney Al Serrato.

Souter’s girlfriend Shelby Lujan is only charged with the second felony and is out on bail, Serrato said. Souter was arrested Aug. 21 in Bend, Oregon and will soon be extradited, Serrato said.

On May 1, Lujan brought the 2-year-old dog named Sprocket to an emergency veterinary clinic, more than a week after she said he was injured, according to the Peninsula Humane Society.

Sprocket had suffered third-degree burns on 40 percent of his body. The clinic tried to save the dog, but he succumbed to the injuries and died within a few hours.

Lujan and Souter claimed that a cup of boiling water had accidentally spilled into Sprocket’s crate, but that they waited more than a week to take him to the vet, according to the humane society.

An expert forensic veterinarian determined that the pattern and severity of the injuries was consistent with the dog being lowered or placed in scalding liquid.

“The details of this case are horrific,” PHS/SPCA president Ken White said in a statement.

“After the scalding, the poor dog endured days of horrendous suffering. We hope our investigation will provide the evidence needed to bring Sprocket justice, and ensure that his owners are unable to hurt any other animals,” White said.

Lujan’s pre-trial conference is scheduled for Oct. 6, and her preliminary hearing will take place Oct. 18, Serrato said.

Serrato expects Souter’s arraignment to take place later this week or next week.

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