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Charges filed against owner of puppy that suffered broken back and ribs

abused puppy
abused puppy
abused puppy
abused puppy
Posted at 11:00 AM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 18:01:33-04

DENVER — Editor's note: The story has been updated after a previously unredacted affidavit released by the district attorney's office has since been redacted

A 24-year-old man has been charged with animal cruelty, accused of abusing a puppy that suffered a broken back and ribs last fall, according to an arrest warrant affidavit released by the Denver District Attorney's Office on Thursday.

"Kayle," a boxer/dalmatian mix, survived her injuries and is doing well with her new caretakers, the district attorney's office said.

The 11-month-old's previous owner, Stephen Swett was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals, a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Swett and his girlfriend took the puppy to the MaxFund Wellness Center animal clinic in October, when the dog had trouble breathing and had collapsed outside.

The MaxFund staff diagnosed the puppy with rib fractures, broken vertebrae and possible lung contusions and performed surgery on her, the affidavit said.

MORE | Englewood puppy allegedly abused by owners making hopeful recovery

In November, Kayle was already on the mend, recovering at the VRCC animal hospital in Englewood.

Cheryl Stapleton, an employee at MaxFund, told Denver7 in November that Kayle could barely breathe when she arrived at the clinic.

"She couldn't move, but she would still have the sweetest little kisses for you even when she was in obvious pain," Stapleton said. "She would wag her tail whenever anyone came up to the oxygen door. She was trying very hard. You see all kinds in a shelter. You think you become immune to it, but then sweet Kayle came through our door and it just broke us."

On Thursday, District Attorney Beth McCann said in a statement that the charges against Swett are "giving this puppy a voice and saying as loudly as possible, we will prosecute anyone who abuses animals."