Woman Faces New Torture Charge for Beating Death of Dog, Heading to Trial in Case
The owner arrested for severely beating her dog with a hammer in the kitchen of her east Erie apartment waived her right to a preliminary hearing Monday. Prosecutors have also added a new charge.
Justina Robison now faces an additional charge of animal cruelty for torture. She was arraigned Oct. 30 on a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty for causing death and three misdemeanors - animal cruelty, false reports and possession of an instrument of crime.
According to police, Robison told officers she left her first floor apartment at 332 Parade Street around 1:40 a.m. Oct. 28 to walk her fiance to work on the west side of town.
When she returned, Robinson said she found her male dog Israel, nicknamed Izzy, bleeding from the head and critically injured.
Robison told Erie News Now that she was training the dog, a mixed chocolate Labrador Retriever and red white Irish Setter to be a service dog for her fiance Craig.
Police said the dog was beaten with a hammer, adding that the weapon itself came from inside the house, and there was no sign of forced entry. Robison said a broom may have been used to harm the dog as well.
The owner has two other dogs. A large Mastiff that she says was with her and a smaller Mastiff that was in a crate in the apartment, and not injured.
Chief Humane Officer Lisa Stiles responded to the scene and took the injured dog to the Pet Emergency Center. They determined that the dog had a severe crack in his skull and was unlikely to survive the night. After sharing the diagnosis with the Robison, the owner made the decision that the dog should be euthanized. The Erie Humane Society covered the cost of dog's treatment.
Police told Erie News Now many calls from the public led investigators to Robison as a suspect, and detectives conducted several interviews with her.
Robison remains behind bars in the Erie County Prison with bond set at $50,000.