Man punches puppy in face in front of shocked deputies

YUCCA VALLEY — A man who was seen by an anonymous witness kicking a four-month-old puppy down a Yucca Valley street and then observed by responding deputies as he held the puppy down while punching it in the face was arrested Wednesday, May 24.

The dog, described as a German Shepard puppy, was taken to a veterinarian for treatment of what officials called a “serious injury,” after the deputies saw the alleged suspect holding the puppy on the ground while striking it with his fist.

At the end of their investigation, deputies arrested 60-year-old, Charles Lathrop at his residence in the 7000 block of Barberry Avenue in Yucca Valley. He was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail on suspicion of willful cruelty to an animal.

The investigation began at 5:34 p.m., when San Bernardino County emergency dispatchers received a report of an older, white man “stumbling down the middle of the street and kicking his dog.” The man was seen kicking and abusing the defenseless puppy near Antelope Trail and Barberry Avenue, according to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Public Affairs Division.

When deputies arrived in the area they checked the neighborhood described by the anonymous 911 caller and found the house where the man and puppy were last seen.

As deputies approached the home’s garage, they observed a man, later identified as Lathrop, “holding the German Shepard puppy on the ground and striking the puppy with a fist,” said officials. “The puppy was crying and trying to get away from Lathrop.”

Deputies immediately arrested Lathrop.

Animal control officials were summoned to the residence and took the puppy to a local shelter where veterinarians treated the pup’s injuries. No further updates were provided regarding the nature and extent of the dog’s injuries.

Anyone with information related to the investigation is asked to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Morongo Basin Station at (760) 366-4175. Callers can refer to incident file number 231700977 and can remain anonymous. Tipsters can also anonymously report criminal activity by contacting We-Tip at 1 (888) 78-CRIME.


Contact the writer:

trevor main

Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.


  • How can 2 be cruel to a puppy?

  • What a asshole to the 10th degree.

  • This is where the charles manson’s and deranged psychopaths get their start not to mention sadistic terrorist killers. Lock ’em up as long as absolutely possible or prepare the gas chamber for future clients.