SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City man has been charged with torturing a companion animal after police say he became angry with a 4-month-old puppy and killed it.

Third-degree felony charges were filed Monday against Vilani Toni Suluka, 28, in 3rd District Court. According the charges, a witness saw Suluka kick the labrador puppy before carrying it into an apartment Aug. 19.

Slamming was heard and the puppy yelped for about five minutes before falling silent, charges state.

Suluka came downstairs and said he had killed the dog, and "when someone asked him why he killed the puppy, he said that he was angry with the dog," charges state.

Suluka placed the puppy in a crate, where it was left outside until two people, including the dog's owner, buried it in front of the apartment, the witness reported.

The next day, the dog's owner showed an animal services officer where the puppy was buried and confirmed Suluka was the last person with the puppy before it died. A veterinary diagnostic lab determined the puppy died because its lungs had filled with blood and fluid and collapsed, according to the charges.

A search of court records indicates Suluka does not have prior animal abuse charges.

— McKenzie Romero