Christopher Alexander Caceres, 22, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Monday, the newspaper reported. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office also charged him with a misdemeanor count of sexual assault on an animal and a felony count of burglary in connection with a break-in at a San Pedro trailer coach.
Police believe Caceres is the man caught on surveillance video in the 1900 block of Summerland Avenue in San Pedro. The footage shows a man climbing over a backyard wall shortly before 2:30 a.m. Nov. 10, according to the San Pedro Beacon.
The man remained in the backyard for more than two hours, the footage shows. The man gave the dog treats, then "(pinned) the dog to the ground and (performed) multiple sexual acts on the dog while the canine (struggled) to break free of his grasp," the website reported.
The Beacon also reported that a rape kit was performed on the dog, an 80-pound female Akita.
The homeowner reviewed the surveillance footage after finding an unusual amount of dog hair outside, he told the Beacon.
"I woke up because I heard something outside," said the homeowner, who requested anonymity. "Our dog greeted me and something seemed off. I didn't know what had happened, but I saw clumps of our dog's hair throughout the yard. I immediately went to the surveillance cameras, and I was absolutely disgusted with what I saw."
After the surveillance footage was discovered, an email warning was circulated to residents of San Pedro and the Miraleste area in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Neighbors told the Beacon that Caceres had moved into the area more than a month ago; since then, multiple homes had been burglarized.
Caceres, who applied for a job at Green Hills Mortuary in Rancho Palos Verdes before his arrest, faces up to nine years in prison if convicted on all counts, according to the Breeze. He is scheduled to appear in court again Nov. 25.
After news of the crime broke, a petition was posted on YouSign.org calling for Caceres to receive the "maximum penalty." Within 24 hours, it had already amassed more than 1,000 signatures.