Trial begins for Navy veteran accused of abusing neighbor’s dog

VISTA, Calif. -- The trial of an Oceanside man arrested for torturing three dogs and killing one opened Tuesday with prosecutors alleging 36-year-old David Herbert was terrorizing neighbors for at least two years.

Investigators say the former U.S. Navy sailor threw caustic materials on the dogs and broke into his next-door neighbor's home to stab one of the animals. In another allegation, prosecutors said Herbert would take his neighbors' dogs in his car and then abandon them far away.

One neighbor said her therapy dog "Lala" was taken and never seen again.

The defendant fired his attorney and represented himself during  opening statements.

“The dogs came on to my property and I drove them away ... I was in my car and did drive them away, and I will tell you where I took it and I will tell you how that blood got in that car," Herbert said. "I didn't beat it with a baseball bat."

If Herbert is convicted on all counts, he faces 16 years behind bars.