ST. PETERSBURG — Albert J. Proctor says he's a dog lover, but police say he's a dog killer.
Proctor, 28, was arrested Sunday night on charges of animal cruelty after, police say, he shot and killed his wife's 10-pound chihuahua with a .22-caliber rifle and then threatened another dog with a 9 mm handgun.
Proctor, who spent the night in jail, was released on $5,000 bail Monday.
Police said Proctor told them he shot Bently, a year-old chihuahua, because the dog had a history of aggression and went after a neighbor Sunday afternoon.
But Samantha Francescutti, who called police, said Proctor shot the dog in his garage and then tried to burn its body.
Francescutti told police she found Proctor's wife, Sasha, who is her cousin, crying outside the Proctor home at 781 76th Ave. N.
Sasha told Francescutti not to go in the house because Proctor had just killed the family dog, police said.
Francescutti went in anyway and found a pool of blood in the garage. She followed the blood trail to a fire pit, where she found Bently's remains, police said.
Francescutti, who had her dog with her, left when Proctor threatened to shoot her dog after it would not obey his command to leave the living room, police said. That's when she called police.
St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz said Sasha Proctor told officers her husband suffers from depression and that he "grew up country" and thought it was "okay to shoot a dog."
Puetz said she was not afraid for the safety of herself or her children.
Puetz said Proctor was persuaded by his wife not to burn the dog in the fire pit, and Proctor later buried it in the back yard.
Proctor told police he "made a mistake" by shooting Bently, adding he's actually "a dog lover."