Merced father and son arrested in alleged dog beating

Samuel Clendenin
Samuel Clendenin

Two men were arrested Friday evening on suspicion of beating a neighbor’s German Shepherd to death, according to Merced police.

One of the suspects, however, claims the dog was killed after the animal attacked him on his family’s property.

The incident, which was captured on a surveillance camera, was reported at 8:16 p.m. in the 1500 block of Massasso Court. (story continues after ABC 30 video).

When officers were responding to the call, they initially believed someone had been bitten.

Officers arrived and spoke with the suspects, who said Samuel Clendenin, 24, was bitten by their neighbor’s dog. When the officers asked where the dog was, the suspects said they killed it in self-defense, according to a Merced police press release.

During the investigation, police spoke with the dog’s owner and family, and learned the incident was captured on video from the family’s home camera system.

Officers observed the video, and determined the suspects gave inconsistent and conflicting statements. Police believe the incident was animal cruelty, and the suspects “maliciously and intentionally” killed the dog, according to the release.

Suspect Tony Clendenin, 52, and his son Samuel Clendenin, 24, from Merced, were arrested and booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of animal cruelty and conspiracy to commit a crime. The pair were each held on $10,000 bail, and were released after posting bail late Friday.

Kimberly Saesee, the owner of the dog, posted the video of the alleged incident on her Facebook account. The video quickly spread over social media.

Although police believe the dog’s killing was malicious, the suspects gave a different story to local media. Samuel Clendenin told an ABC 30 reporter that the dog entered his family’s backyard and lunged at his face. Samuel Clendenin said they got the dog into a corner, and he stood on top of the dog, trying to gain control. During the television interview, Samuel Clendenin said he feared the dog would charge if he removed his foot, and his father used a baseball bat on the animal.

Merced police said the case is ongoing, and they’re being assisted by the city’s Animal Control Division.

Merced police are asking anyone with information about the case to call Animal Control Officer Kim Herzog at (209) 385-6912, or the department’s automated tipline at (209) 385-4725. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to police department by dialing “TIP411” (847411) and including the word “Comvip” as the “keyword” in the text message.