Iowa court overturns puppy beating conviction

July 11, 2013 at 9:24 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa, July 11 (UPI) -- The Iowa Court of Appeals has overturned the animal cruelty conviction of Zachary Meerdink, who beat a puppy to death in 2011.

The three-judge panel of the appellate court voted 2-1 Wednesday to overturn the 2012 conviction, The Des Moines Register reported.

Meerdink, 31, of Scott County, killed his 7-month-old Boston terrier with a baseball bat in December 2011 after it had an accident on the floor and bit a child.

Chief Judge Larry Eisenhauer and Judge Mary Tabor, who voted to overturn the conviction, said prosecutors failed to prove Meerdink acted with sadistic intent to cause the death of the puppy -- requirements spelled out in the state's animal cruelty law.

They also noted Meerdink beat the dog only after trying other measures to control its behavior.

A spokeswoman for the Iowa attorney general's office said state lawyers had not yet decided whether to seek further review by the Iowa Supreme Court.

Meerdink, who was out on parole for a drug conviction when the incident occurred, was sent back to prison after the cruelty arrest. He was released on parole in April.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Hyon Yong Chol disparaged Kim Jong Un prior to execution, analyst says
Officials debate 'when to suspend' search for missing Florida boys
In Khamenei Tweet, man resembling Obama holds gun to head
U.S. officials, Boeing believe wreckage likely from missing Malaysian jet
Gangs in El Salvador kill at least six bus drivers to intimidate government