SAN JUAN (AP) — A Puerto Rico judge on Thursday found a businessman guilty of animal abuse for fatally shooting a stray dog on a golf course nearly two years ago, noting the defendant did so not out of fear but because the animal was interrupting the game.
The ruling against Salil Zaveri was cheered by animal activists who have previously accused the U.S. territory for taking little to no action against those suspected of abusing or killing animals.
“Depriving an animal of life is an act of callousness and contempt for life,” Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli said.
An attorney for Zaveri could not be immediately reached for comment.
Zaveri previously said he was acting in self-defense, but witnesses who were playing with him that day testified that the small dog was about 30 feet away and had briefly played with one of the golf balls.
While Zaveri is scheduled to be sentenced in April, the judge ordered his immediate detention.