VISTA, Calif. — A Southern California man accused of slashing his neighbors’ tires and mutilating their dogs in what a prosecutor calls “a war of terror” has pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty and other crimes.

Thirty-six-year-old David Herbert of Oceanside entered pleas Friday and could face 16 years in prison if convicted.

Authorities say earlier this year, Herbert went to his next-door neighbors’ home, threw acid on their two huskies and gouged one animal’s eye so badly that it had to be removed.

When that family moved out, he allegedly stole two dogs from the new tenants and is believed to have killed one.

Herbert, who’s a Navy veteran, has no criminal record. His public defender told a judge that mental health issues may be involved.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.