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Former L.A. County assistant fire chief snapped, beating dog with rock, prosecutors say

January 14, 2010 |  8:24 am

Testimony has begun in the case of a former Los Angeles County assistant fire chief who prosecutor alleged mortally wounded his neighbors' 6-month-old dog because it ran onto his property.

The case in Riverside County has received national attention and is being closely watch by animal rights activists.

The defendant, Glynn Johnson, is accused of beating the dog, a shepherd mix, after a long feud with his neighbors over various issues in 2008. Prosecutors called the beating unprovoked. The dog suffered major injuries and had to be euthanized. Prosecutors also say Johnson put dog feces in his neighbors' mailbox with a letter warning them to keep their dogs off his property.

According to KTLA News reporter Chris Wolfe, the defense offers a different account of the incident. In court this week, defense attorneys said the dog's owners, Jeff and Shelley Toole, are the "neighbors from hell" who routinely take in stray animals and then don't take care of them, giving them the run of the community.

A friend of the Toole family, Travis Staggs, told The Times last year that on Nov. 3, 2008, he was walking the dog, Karley, home from his yard when Johnson offered to take over.

"Then something in his head snapped and he started beating the dog," Staggs said.

Johnson allegedly punched Karley with a closed fist about a dozen times and then beat her with an 11-inch rock, Staggs said, adding that he tried to stop Johnson but was pushed away.

-- Shelby Grad