A 36-year-old Harrisville man has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly kicking a poodle puppy to death.

Lee Clark was charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty Saturday after kicking a 3-month-old poodle that strayed into his home, Harrisville police said.The dog, named Shadow, belonged to Amy Johnston and her family, which had moved into a neighboring home the day before.

The fence for keeping Shadow in the new yard is only three-quarters finished, and the puppy strayed while Johnston and her children were at home, awaiting her husband and 2-year-old son. The boy recently had brain surgery at Primary Children's Medical Center and was due home that day.

The puppy wandered into Clark's home, where Clark and some friends were working.

"Apparently, he was frustrated. His home had suffered water damage," Harrisville Sgt. Dale Bridges said. "This puppy was under foot and wouldn't leave. So he kicked the dog to get it out of the house."

"He said several times he didn't mean to hurt the dog," Bridges said.

Johnston was horrified.

"The puppy got out of the yard, and 30 minutes later it was dead," Johnston said. "He (Clark) told my husband he was having a bad week."

The family learned about the dog's death when a neighbor told the Johnston's 10-year-old that his pup was in a wheelbarrow at Clark's home, Johnston said.

"He went up and looked in the wheelbarrow," she said. "He just collapsed screaming and scream-ing."

Aggravated cruelty to an animal is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail. It is the stiffest charge allowed for an animal cruelty offense, Bridges said.

Mike Wells, a neighbor who was helping Clark, said the puppy was not small and Clark's two small children were in the room when the dog entered.

"He didn't know that dog. He had never seen it before," Wells said. "It's tragic. But still, the dog should have been contained."