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Virginia man kills two dogs by throwing them off 5th-floor balcony, faces 5 years for animal cruelty

Authorities said that Zachary Hanson, 26, owned one of the dogs that he flung off the balcony, while the other belonged to someone he knew
Zachary Hanson (Arlington County Police Department)
Zachary Hanson (Arlington County Police Department)

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA:  A 26-year-old man was arrested last week, April 27, after he allegedly killed two dogs by throwing them off the balcony of his apartment. 

Police responded to Zachary Hanson's house after receiving multiple reports of him tossing the two canines off his 5th-floor balcony. By the time police got to the scene, the manager of the building had rushed them to nearby medical facilities. 

"At approximately 2:30 p.m. on April 27, police were dispatched to the report of an animal complaint. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect allegedly threw two dogs off the balcony of a residence. Prior to police arrival, the dogs were located and transported to area animal hospitals, where they succumbed to their injuries and were pronounced deceased," the Arlington County Police Department crime report stated.

The accused was taken into custody from his residence without incident. He was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals and held in jail without bond.

Speaking to Arl Now, authorities said that the suspect owned one of the dogs that he flung off the balcony, while the other belonged to someone he knew. 

“One belonged to the suspect, the other belonged to someone known to the suspect,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “To best protect the identity of the victim, we will not release additional information related to their relationship. What preceded the incident is under investigation."

Hanson's preliminary hearing is scheduled in Arlington General District on Aug. 28. Since he is charged with Class 6 felonies he is facing one to five years in prison if convicted.

Earlier this month, a Florida man was accused of choking a puppy to death and threatening to throw it from an apartment building balcony. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Jonathan Lawrence Goldstein, 36, of Boynton Beach, was arrested on April 14, after he was spotted screaming and yelling from a balcony.

The dog in question was a 4-month-old, tan Maltese-Yorkie mix named Cinnamon. After police began investigating the incident, four witnesses came forward with versions of the crime. Some of the witnesses had seen him holding the dog strangely while on the balcony and had yelled at him not to hurt the dog. “Shut the f**k up,” Goldstein had screamed back, the arrest report suggested. He then made his way out of the building still appearing to strangle the dog. 

A neighbor said that he heard the dog whimpering loudly, while another saw Goldstein leaving the building holding the canine by its neck, WPEC reported. A maintenance man told the authorities that he saw Goldstein walk down the street holding the dog as he occasionally tried to blow air into its mouth.

“The dog appeared lifeless,” a police officer wrote in an arrest report.

Goldstein was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on a $10,000 bond after the dog was pronounced dead at the scene. The animal's body was taken to Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control for a necropsy. 

During his preliminary hearing, a judge ordered Goldstein to be transported to a mental health center.