A Massachusetts man is facing charges after police say he struck a crying puppy with a guitar before assaulting his girlfriend last month, an incident that she said left her bruised.
Thomas L. Mitchell Jr., 45, of Auburn, was arraigned June 24 in Worcester District Court on charges of assault and battery on a family or household member, animal cruelty and violation of an abuse prevention order. He entered a not guilty plea and was released on $2,500
Mitchell was arrested two days earlier, when officers went to the Acorn Acres trailer park on Washington Street to investigate a report of animal abuse.
Lisa Griffin, Mitchell's then girlfriend, told NBC10 Boston that Mitchell had been drinking the night he allegedly attacked her and their litter of shepherd/pit bull puppies.
"He was moody. They said by the time he got here, he had been drinking. He had 18 nips," Griffin recalled.
Mitchell had been agitated that one of the puppies kept crying, according to court documents obtained by the Telegram.
"He grabbed the guitar off the wall and he just took it and he smashed it down on one of the puppies, and so I just laid over him and grabbed the puppy," Griffin said.
The 4-week-old puppy yelped in pain while she tried to put her body over it to protect it, she said.
"The noise was just, ugh, and I was hurting too. I have bruises all over me because I wasn't going to let him hit him again," Griffin said.
She said she begged Mitchell to take the puppy to a veterinarian, but instead, he allegedly continued to attack her as concerned neighbors ran over to help.
"They heard the puppy screaming so they all come running and he grabbed my throat and he's holding me against the – where the screen door was and just kneeing me and kicking me," Griffin said.
Griffin said the neighbors scared Mitchell off, but he was arrested a short distance away.
All nine puppies, their mom, Bella, and their dad, Max, have been taken by animal control while police continue their investigation. The puppies will be available for adoption in the coming weeks.
"I'm an animal lover and I don't like them being hurt and I miss them," Griffin said.
Mitchell was ordered to stay away from and have no contact with Griffin. His case was continued to July 24.