SAN DIEGO - An Iraq war veteran charged with beating a 4-month-old puppy so badly that it had to be put down spoke to Fox 5 Thursday evening.
San Diego County Animal Control arrested 26-year-old Phillip Shawn Rich Sunday morning after he took the puppy to the veterinarian.
"Honestly, I don't remember much. I do know that my anger got the best of me. I looked down at him and said 'what the heck'" Rich said. "I drove my truck as quick as I could to the vet."
According to animal control officials, the puppy suffered a tremendous amount of trauma to the head, a collapsed lung, and broken bones.
"What set me off? I'm not sure," he said. "I am not a monster. I love animals."
During the interview, Rich explained that he spent two tours in Iraq in combat and witnessed several comrades die.
"[They sent] a kid to Iraq and I grew up over there. What do you expect me to do?" he said.
Rich was confident that he was suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder " href="http://www.fox5sandiego.com/topic/health/behavioral-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder--HEBEC000022.topic">post-traumatic stress disorder and needed professional help.
"I've been seeing doctors and I honestly know that I need further help. I need to go into therapy. I need to see a psychiatrist," Rich said. "As soon as I get out of here I'm going to volunteer myself to go to the VA and get help."
If convicted of the current charges, Rich could be sentenced to 3 years behind bars. He is expected back in court on Feb. 2.