BATTLE CREEK (WWJ/AP) – A 54-year-old southern Michigan man has been charged after police found his dog badly injured on his back porch.

The husky mix had been beaten with an aluminum baseball bat and shot at least once with a pellet rifle before officers arrived,  Tuesday night, at the home in Battle Creek, according to police.

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The dog owner told officers the animal had been behaving aggressively and bit another man’s hand.

Police Major Austin Simons told the Kalamazoo Gazette shot the suffering dog once to “put him out of his misery” because of the severity of its wounds.

“Responding officers reported that the dog appeared to be distressed – they said it was struggling to breathe and could not stand. Based on the dog’s condition, officers determined that the humane decision was to put the dog down immediately,” police further explained, in a message posted to the city’s website and Facebook on Wednesday.

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Police added that if an animal appears to have a broken leg or is otherwise not in immediate distress, officers may choose to seek medical help from a veterinarian. In this case and others, however, police said, severe pain or aggression may lead officers to put an animal down at the scene, so as not to further its suffering.

“A lot of police officers are animal lovers ourselves,” said Major Jim Grafton. “It hurts us to put an animal down.”

David Hursley was arraigned Wednesday in Calhoun County District Court on killing or torturing an animal and animal cruelty charges. A March 1 preliminary examination is scheduled.

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