Published: Mar 07, 2014 9:12 PM EST

ST. JAMES CITY, Fla. - A dog was found dead, buried in a backyard. And, the owner tells investigators he did it. 30-year-old Galen Aune was arrested Thursday for animal cruelty after months of investigation.

It all started back in October. Neighbors on Papaya Street in St. James City told investigators they'd seen Aune chasing his dog, picking her up by the ears and throwing her. One neighbor who was  too frightened to go on camera for fear of retaliation told WINK News she saw Aune punch the dog in the head and ribs, dragging her injured body back home.

"I don't see how anyone could do anything to an animal," neighbor Don Jedlik said.

Complaints led a Lee County Domestic Animal Services officer to Aune's doorstep. According to the report, Aune said, "Not a problem anymore. The dog is dead. I killed it."

When asked why, Aune replied, "She just looked at me funny and showed bad energy. I had to do something about it, for my health."

He later admitted to killing the dog using a pickaxe and burying it in the backyard.

"He was talking to one of my boys and said he had to put the dog under. I didn't know that he had done it," Jedlik said.

After a necropsy, deputies arrested Aune Thursday for animal cruelty. Aune's father told investigators his son has anger issues. We tried to talk to him at his house but got answer.

When asked if the dog was asked, neighbor Jody Colyer said, "That's the impression I got, that she was afraid to do something. It was horrible."
Neighbors who knew the dog well find the arrest hard to fathom.

"Nice guy, and the dog was beautiful," Skip Torres said. "He just took good care of the dog, walked it everyday, never yelled at it, never had to."

Aune remains in jail on a $50,000 bond. WINK News asked Animal Services what reasons led to the the animal cruelty charge being upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony. They tell us the decision came from State Attorneys Office, which felt there was a strong enough case to pursue.