A 30-year-old Muscatine County man who is on parole has been charged with beating a 4-month-old puppy to death with a baseball bat, police said.
Zachary Scott Meerdink was arrested Monday night, Davenport police Capt. David Struckman said. Meerdink is in the Scott County Jail.
Meerdink is charged with one count of animal torture, an aggravated misdemeanor that carries a prison sentence of up to two years.
Davenport police officers were dispatched to an apartment at 5901 Elmore Ave. at 11:13 p.m. Dec. 14 regarding a domestic dispute.
According to Struckman, that is where Meerdink was arrested.
The woman with whom Meerdink had been living told police that the dog, a 4-month-old Boston terrier, had urinated on the floor.
She said Meerdink took the dog and an aluminum baseball bat outside, where he beat the dog to death with the bat and left the animal’s body, police said. He then left the scene, and the woman called police.
A person is guilty of animal torture, regardless of whether the person is the animal’s owner, if the person “inflicts upon the animal severe physical pain with a depraved or sadistic intent to cause prolonged suffering or death,” 717B.3A of the Iowa Code states.
The law requires that the defendant should submit to psychological evaluation and treatment upon sentencing and also pay for those services. The law also requires the person to perform community service, which may include work at an animal shelter or pound.
Meerdink has a lengthy criminal history, including a drug conviction that sent him to prison.
The Muscatine County Drug Task Force arrested him in March 2004 and charged him with possession with the intent to deliver cocaine and possession with the intent to deliver marijuana.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of possession with the intent to deliver more than 100 grams but less than 500 grams of cocaine, court records state. In January 2005, a Muscatine County judge suspended his 25-year prison sentence, and he was placed on five years of supervised probation.
Meerdink was arrested again in November 2005 for violating his probation. Records state that his probation was revoked, and he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
After going on work-release in March 2010, he was granted parole in June of that year. His parole does not end until March 10, 2017, Iowa Department of Corrections records state.