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Southbay Couple Accused Of Deliberately Burning Dog To Death With Scalding Hot Water

BURLINGAME (CBS SF) -- A Burlingame couple has been charged with the burning death of their 2-year-old dog, the Peninsula Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced Monday.

On May 1, Shelby Lujan brought the dog named Sprocket to an emergency veterinary clinic, more than a week after she said he was injured, according to the humane society.

Sprocket had suffered second-degree burns on 40 percent of his body. The clinic tried to save the dog, but he succumbed to the injuries and died within a few hours. Investigators feel certain the dog was killed by Lujan's boyfriend Paul Souter.

Lujan and Souter claimed that a cup of boiling water had accidentally spilled into Sprocket's crate, but that they waited more than a week to take him to the vet, according to the humane society.

An expert forensic veterinarian determined that the pattern and severity of the injuries was consistent with the dog being lowered or placed in scalding liquid. The burns were not on the top of the dog like you would see if there was an accidental spill.

The San Mateo district attorney says Souter dipped the dog into the hot liquid. Though he was severely injured, investigators say it took Shelby Lujan over a week to take the dog into the emergency vet.

"The details of this case are horrific," PHS/SPCA president Ken White said in a statement.

"After the scalding, the poor dog endured days of horrendous suffering. We hope our investigation will provide the evidence needed to bring Sprocket justice, and ensure that his owners are unable to hurt any other animals," White said.

Lujan was released on bail, while Souter remains in custody. She is charged with failing to provide protection of an animal in her care.

Lujan's pre-trial conference is scheduled for Oct. 6, and her preliminary hearing will take place Oct. 18, San Mateo County prosecutors said.

Souter was charged separately, after Lujan, because of additional evidence that surfaced, according to Deputy District Attorney Al Serrato.

Souter's first court appearance has not yet been announced.

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