Man charged with drowning puppy in Cypress hotel

A 27-year-old has been charged with drowning a puppy to death in a Cypress hotel room, police said Thursday.

Richard Benjamin Tolliver was charged Wednesday with a felony count of cruelty to animals. He pleaded not guilty and was next due in court May 16 for a pretrial hearing in the West Justice Center in Westminster.

Authorities were called to the Extended Stay motel at 5990 Corporate Drive about 8:50 a.m. Monday to respond to reports of smoke coming from a room, according to Sgt. Cassie Olivas of the Cypress Police Department.

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Olivas said authorities found an item on fire in the room and a dead dog in a bathtub. Tolliver was the sole resident in the hotel room.

Authorities later determined the 4-month-old female Golden Retriever's death was not accidental based on the results of a necropsy, Olivas said.