Michael Woole, the Conway man accused of beating two dogs to death with a baseball bat, pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing in Faulkner County court Monday.
Woole, 34, of 1555 East German Lane, was arrested on two felony counts of animal cruelty Sept. 4 after a neighbor and witness told police he saw Woole beat the dogs in a pen at his home.
A Conway Police Department incident report filed Aug. 30 states the witness told police he saw Woole strike two dogs in the head several times.
The witness told police when he confronted Woole, he told him he was "putting the dogs down."
The witness stated he saw Woole put the dogs' bodies in the back of a truck before leaving the area.
Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said he could not comment on if the animals' bodies were located in the course of investigation.
An animal welfare officer who responded to Woole's residence after the call took photographs of blood inside and around the pen where the witness allegedly saw the dogs being beaten.
In an interview with police, Woole stated he was not beating the dogs, but used a shovel to usher the dogs into another pen, according to CPD public information officer La Tresha Woodruff.
"We believe the circumstances in this case have violated the felony animal cruelty law, and we'll be pursuing prosecution vigorously," Hiland said Monday.
Hiland said the 20th Judicial District office has received more correspondence about Woole's case than any other since he has been prosecuting attorney.
"This has generated a lot of interest. We have received more e-mails on this issue than any other we've had in our office, including child rape cases, abuse cases, anything," he said.
Woole's pre-trial date is Nov. 7.
He was released the day of his arrest on a $5,000 bond.
The Arkansas act allowing for felony charges in incidents of animal cruelty was passed in 2009 and applies to horses, dogs and cats.