Grand Island Man Accused of Killing Puppy with Hammer

Michael Berst

A 26-year-old Grand Island man has been accused of killing his family dog with a hammer.

Michael Berst was arrested on Sunday, several days after the alleged incident. Monday, Berst was charged with animal neglect and tampering with evidence in Hall County Court.

The county attorney says Berst killed Buddy, a 6-month-old pit bull mix, with a ball peen hammer and then dumped the body in a dumpster.

Someone spotted the dog being dumped and contacted authorities. The Central Nebraska Humane Society and Grand Island Police Department investigated.

According the county attorney, Berst was questioned and admitted it.

Prosecutors called the crime "heinous."

They said Berst has failed to appear in court previously, and is on probation. Berst indicated he planned to hire his own attorney. He said little, and appeared to be upset as he walked away from the table in the jail, where he made his initial court appearance via videoconferencing.

Berst is currently being held at the Hall County jail. Bond has been set at $100,000.