Police in Puerto Rico have arrested a New York businessman over the shooting and killing of a dog that had stolen his ball on a golf course at a well-known resort.
Police identified the man as Salil Zaveri, saying the shooting occurred on Saturday at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Resort in the north coastal town of Río Grande.
'CAN'T BELIEVE IT': Beloved golf course destroyed by vandal
'MONEY GRAB': Outrage over PGA's move for social media stars
Authorities said Zaveri used a 9mm gun to shoot the dog several times.
The incident allegedly occurred on the 17th hole, before Zaveri was arrested on the 18th hole.
He was subsequently charged with three counts, including aggravated animal abuse.
Zaveri was released on US$60,000 bond, but his passport and driver’s license have been seized.
“Thank you to MY police officers, who today were the voice of justice of a puppy, whom an unscrupulous, killed viciously, for no reason and in a clear disregard for life,” police commissioner Antonio Lopez Figueroa said in a statement.
Zaveri is a sales and marketing consultant and the CEO of Zaveri Consulting, LLC.
According to witnesses, the 59-year-old became enraged when the dog took his ball.
"This man does not deserve to touch another course in Puerto Rico," one witness said.
"Just like he pulls out a gun to kill a dog, he can pull it out to kill a golfer."
Salil Zaveri claims self defence
But Zaveri has since told NY Daily Newshe shot the dog in self defence, saying the dog actually took his friend’s ball before chasing him and attempting to get in his cart.
“I took the first shot when the dog was less than 10 feet away," Zaveri said.
"The dog rolled over but may have died slowly so I got out of the cart and took two more shots out of mercy."
According to local media, Zaveri has been living in Puerto Rico since 2015.
Lead prosecutor in the case, Gabriel Redondo said dogs had been allowed onto the course to chase iguanas.
"What they tell us is that they were barking and that at one point, it seems that the ball ran a little and the puppy went and caught it," Redondo said.
"He was walking with a gun on his ankle. He pulled it out, went and shot her twice."
Zaveri is expected to appear in court on May 19.
with Associated Press
Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.