Texas Man Convicted of Torturing Dog Receives Extended Sentence

A Texas man convicted of brutally beating an 11-week-old puppy—an act captured by his own security cameras—has been sentenced to five years in prison. This is more than twice the normal maximum sentence for the crime.

Deric Berquist, 47, was convicted by the Tarrant County Texas court of animal abuse, a charge which usually carries a two-year maximum sentence.

Berquist, of Waxahachie, Texas, was arrested by Ellis County police on Aug. 20, 2018, on a charge of cruelty to non-livestock animals: torture. According to NBC- TV, his then-girlfriend called the police and turned him in.

The worst of the vicious attack was captured on a home security camera Berquist had installed in his home.

At Berquist’s sentencing hearing on April 26, jurors agreed with prosecutors who asked for an enhanced sentence due to the excessive viciousness of the crime.

During closing arguments, Prosecutor David Alex asked the jury, “How long do you want your county safe from this kind of evil?”

Berquist has a history of violent behavior. Witnesses testified that Berquist regularly beat whichever woman he was dating. The same security cameras that captured his pet abuse also showed his hitting his current girlfriend.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Berquist had set a live squirrel on fire when he was a child.

“The kind of man that can prey on small animals is a different kind of evil,” Alex told the Star-Telegram. “The level of torture shown in this video is the kind of thing people don’t want to believe really happens.”

Puppy Beaten Unconscious

Berquist unintentionally recorded himself beating his 11-week-old German Shepherd puppy. When asked, he told police he was angry because the dog went to the bathroom in its kennel.

To reiterate: the puppy was only 11 weeks old.

Berquist’s home security video system captured images of him slamming the puppy violently to the floor, punching it, and choking it. The video shows the force with which Berquist struck the dog. This was not a whack across the haunches with a rolled-up newspaper—the Texas man can be seen kneeling over the dog and punching it repeatedly with extreme violence.

The animal squealed in pain until it finally passed out.

The puppy suffered several broken bones in the attack.

“What kind of human does this?” Prosecutor Danielle Bonanno asked the jury during her closing argument. “Monsters are real, and he is sitting right there.”

Sam Jordan, communications officer with the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, assured the public that the puppy survived, and, thanks to medical care, has recovered completely. “She is back in good health and very happy in her new home,” Jordan said.