Crime - Sacto 911

Man pleads no contest in dog’s drowning

William Meek wipes a tear from his eye while he listens to his former girlfriend, Mollie Wasemiller, testify during a preliminary hearing on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. Meek is accused of drowning his girlfriend's dog Zelda, a 12-year-old border collie, by tying a bowling ball around her neck and throwing her into the American River.
William Meek wipes a tear from his eye while he listens to his former girlfriend, Mollie Wasemiller, testify during a preliminary hearing on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. Meek is accused of drowning his girlfriend's dog Zelda, a 12-year-old border collie, by tying a bowling ball around her neck and throwing her into the American River. Sacramento

A man accused of drowning his girlfriend’s dog in the American River has pleaded no contest to felony animal cruelty.

William David Meek, 47, entered the plea Friday in Sacramento Superior Court, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

In June 2014, Meek told his girlfriend that he was taking her 13-year-old border collie, Zelda, to the city of Sacramento’s Front Street shelter and left with the dog. But Meek did not take Zelda to the shelter. Instead, authorities said, he placed a bowling ball and large river rock in a bag and tied the 25 pounds of weight to one end of Zelda’s leash. The other end of the leash was tied to the dog’s collar, which Meek reportedly had tightly adjusted around her snout.

Meek then drove to East Sacramento and dumped Zelda into the cold, fast-moving waters of the American River, authorities said.

A resident of the nearby River Park neighborhood spotted the dog’s remains floating in the river several days later. The animal still was partially weighted down by the bag.

A necropsy revealed river debris in the dog’s trachea with findings that the cause of death likely was hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen, resulting from inhalation of water.

When a felony animal abuse warrant was issued for Meek, he fled to Nevada. He has been in custody since his arrest Nov. 3.

Because there was no negotiated plea, Meek is subject to a sentence of up to three years, according to the District Attorney’s Office. He is to be sentenced June 12 before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ben Davidian.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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