– The Associated Press

FREDERICK, Md. – A man who tossed a stranger’s Chihuahua off a bridge in a fit of anger faces up to more than four years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to aggravated animal cruelty and theft.

David M. Beers of Brunswick will be sentenced June 7 for snatching 4-pound Zoey from Caisha and Timothy Wantz’s driveway and throwing her out his car window as he crossed Catoctin Creek last June.

Beers, 35, a wireless communications technician, told police he was angry that the Wantzes had ordered him off their property near Jefferson after he’d stopped to make a cell phone call.

Beers left the property but returned a few minutes later when the Wantzes were gone, grabbed the dog and carried her in his car nearly four miles to the bridge.

“As I drove across the Catoctin Creek bridge, I let the dog go while driving, out of the passenger window,” Beers said. The dog was never found.

Defense attorney Eugene L. Souder Jr. said he had advised Beers, a father of five, to go to trial, partly because the state can’t prove the dog died.

“He accepted the plea because he’s an extremely religious man,” Souder said.

After the Frederick County Circuit Court hearing, Caisha Wantz, 31, said it was like losing a child. She and her husband have two other dogs. They also have a 3-year-old son and a 4-year-old niece who lives with them.