By Margie Wuebker
An Indiana man has pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty in Celina Municipal Court. The first-degree misdemeanor charge stems from the recent beheading of a dog in Montezuma.
Art Buschur, 40, of Pennville, entered the written plea which his attorney, Ross Finke, filed prior to a 9 a.m. arraignment hearing today. A pretrial hearing is set for 10:15 a.m. July 19.
Paula L. Lecompte, 34 W. Main St., Montezuma, contacted the Mercer County Sheriff's Office June 3 to report her boxer had been shot and the perpetrator, later identified as Buschur, would not return the dog. Lecompte said the animal had gotten out of a kennel, but described it as neither vicious nor aggressive.
Deputy Chris Hamberg reportedly went to the home of Buschur's mother at 160 E. Riley St. in Montezuma, where the alleged shooting occurred.
Hamberg discovered the boxer had not been shot. Buschur allegedly beat the animal several times about the head with a shovel and maul, a heavy, long-handled hammer used to drive stakes or split logs. He then cut off the animal's head with a knife and threw it into a creek, according to court records. Buschur claimed the boxer trespassed on his mother's property and tried to attack his sister. If convicted, he could receive up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.