REXBURG — A 66-year-old man accused of beating his dog to death has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Miguel Rivera faces possible jail time and fines for the charge. Officials accuse Rivera of beating his dog to death Nov. 27 at his apartment located at 350 West 5th South.

According to reports, police responded to a complaint at Rivera’s home after a woman contacted police and told them that she heard a dog in distress. When officers arrived at the scene they found Rivera holding his dog upside down. When asked what was wrong, Rivera responded that he was trying to clean the dog’s face but the dog wouldn’t come out of its cage. He said that he had used a newspaper to beat the dog.

Rivera said he had been drinking and didn’t know how many times he had hit the dog. The dog died as a result of the beating, officials said.

Police took puppies found at the residence to the Rexburg Animal Shelter.

Animal cruelty is a misdemeanor punishable with up to six months in jail on the first offense. Animal cruelty is not a felony until the third offense under Idaho law, and the punishment increases to a maximum of one year in jail.

The Post Register contributed to this article.

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