GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Two people pleaded not guilty Tuesday in separate animal cruelty cases in Hall County District Court.
Michael J. Berst, 26, of Grand Island is charged with cruel mistreatment or mutilation of animals and tampering with physical evidence for an April 15 incident involving a pit bull mix puppy named Buddy. His pretrial is scheduled for July 17.
Berst was charged after someone saw him tossing an animal's body in a trash bin. The puppy had been struck in the head with a ball-peen hammer, Deputy Hall County Attorney Nancy Berger-Schneider said previously.
When questioned by police, Berst admitted killing his family's dog, she said.
Karin J. Rojas, 52, of Wood River is charged with cruel neglect of animals. The charge was filed after a 25-year-old horse she owned had to be euthanized in March because of lack of food and water.
The pretrial hearing for Rojas has been set for Aug. 7. A trial is scheduled to follow in October.