Sailor charged with animal cruelty after allegedly stabbing puppy

Posted at 1:33 PM, Aug 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-13 06:54:20-04

Newport News, Va. - A Newport News man has been charged with felony animal cruelty after a dog was found dead in a home over the weekend.

On Sunday police received a call regarding a dead animal at a home in the 400 block of Tyler Avenue.

Police and Animal Control officers responded to the home and found a dog with what appeared to be stab wounds.  According to the dog's owner, it was a 10-month-old German Shepard/Golden Retriever mix named Zoey.

Officers spoke to witnesses, and police identified the suspect as 24-year-old Joseph C. Justesen of the 400 block of Tyler Avenue. He was arrested and charged with one count of felony animal cruelty.

Justesen is a roommate of the friend of the owners who had been taking care of the puppy.

He is a Petty Officer Third Class, assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln. According to a Navy spokesperson, he enlisted in 2009.

According to a criminal complaint filed in court, the man who had been dog-sitting for Zoey, found her dead in the corner of the living room on Sunday morning, with blood on the floor and couches.

A knife was also found on the couch.

The criminal complaint goes on to say that Justesen was passed out on the floor near the dog at the time.

It was then that officers and Animal Control were called and Justesen was arrested.

Zoey's owner tells NewsChannel 3 that her dog was well-behaved and she's now left trying to understand how this could happen to her sweet puppy who loved everyone.