DreamWorks animator accused of beating neighbor's dog with hammer
A 40-year-old DreamWorks animator pleaded not guilty Thursday to beating a neighbor’s muzzled dog with a hammer, an incident that was captured on video.
The man, Young Song, allegedly climbed the fence into a yard in the 1900 block of Navarro Avenue in Pasadena, where a 16-month-old German shepherd was muzzled but untied. Surveillance camera video shows the beating but does not reveal what Song did with the dog, which is missing and presumed dead.
According to authorities, Young shot the dog with a pellet gun, then returned with a hammer and began chasing and striking the defenseless animal until it lay senseless.
Industry sites identify Young as a "surfacer," an artisan who creates the look and surface qualities for animated characters, props and environments. Young's credits on animal-themed films include "Kung Fu Panda," "Shark Tale," "Bee Movie" and "Madagascar 2".
“When our officers first viewed the videotape, one of our officers had tears in his eyes. He’d never seen anything like this before,” said Steve McNall, who heads the Pasadena Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “In my 31 years at this animal shelter I’ve never seen anything like this.”
The dog’s owner returned to a bloody scene, and discovered that his dog was missing. The events were recorded on a newly installed security camera.
The motive for the attack is not yet clear, although there was a hole at the bottom of the fence adjoining the two yards, meaning that the dog could have been entering the suspect’s property.
“It might have originated as a barking issue, a noise issue, and then escalated into something else,” McNall added.
A man who lives across the street expressed surprise to the Pasadena Star-News when he learned who had been arrested.
"He's a very nice and kind person," said Paul Lofthouse, who described Song as a husband and father. "He has three dogs of his own and chickens in the backyard. It's a total surprise."
Song was being held on $40,500 bail, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
The formal charges are one felony count of cruelty to an animal and one misdemeanor count of petty theft of a dog with a special allegation of personal use of a deadly weapon, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Alison Matsumoto. If convicted, Song could face more than four years in prison, the district attorney’s office said.
-- Howard Blume and Andrew Blankstein