Close this search box.

Sign: Man Strangled And Slashed Throat Of Newly Adopted Dog

Published: November 03, 2023 at 12:53 AM Author: PENNY EIMS

Brookhaven, PA – On August 26, a handsome dog named Denali was adopted from the Providence Animal Center where he was a favorite among staff. But Denali’s happily-ever-after did not happen because his new owner brutally killed him in October.

May be an image of animal

Denali’s owner, 62-year-old David A. Saxton was charged with cruelty to animals and aggravated cruelty to animals involving torture on October 20. The man admitted to hitting his dog over the head, using a leash to strangle him, and then slashing his neck before bagging up his body in a trash bag and burying him in the yard.


The Providence Animal Center’s Officer, Jason Bell, is leading the investigation. According to Bell’s criminal complaint, Denali’s new family encountered “behavior problems” in early October and reached out to the shelter because they wanted to return him. The family alleged that there was “aggressive behavior,” and “a bite.” They originally wanted to surrender him to the shelter on October 20, but moved the date up to October 10.

The shelter contacted the family on October 9 to gather information and learned that they were attempting to have Denali euthanized at a veterinary hospital, but two different veterinarians had already declined to do it.

Shelter officials went to the family’s home to conduct a welfare check, but nobody answered. The next day, when Denali was supposed to be surrendered, the shelter received a text stating that they would not be bringing him in.

The shelter received information from “concerned” people who stated that David’s daughter had texted friends that her dad “took matters into his own hands and took care of it.” Once again, humane officers went to the residence – this time, they noticed a shovel “that appeared to be recently used to dig soil.”

A notice of investigation was left at the residence and days later, Saxton went to the Brookhaven Police Department to turn himself in. The following excerpt is his account of how Denali was killed:

He was sitting on the living room couch taking his work boots off when Denali started barking and lunged at him. Saxton pushed the dog backwards and Denali came back and started to nip at Saxton’s ear area but did not bite.

Saxton then stood up and grabbed a dog leash that was on the end table near the couch and wrapped it around Denali’s neck in an attempt to strangle Denali with the intent to kill him.

Denali fell to the floor after the struggle and Saxton thought he was dead, however Denali was gasping for air and Saxton saw his chest rising and falling.

Saxton then went into the kitchen and retrieved a large knife and returned to Denali, who was still on the floor.

Saxton used the knife to lacerate the dog’s throat.

Saxton also said that he smashed a candle holder over Denali’s head hard enough to break it.

Brookhaven Police Chief Michael Vice calls the case horrific, stating:

“I don’t know that the criminal complaint does it justice to describe how bad it actually was.”

On the day that Saxton was charged, the animal shelter released a public statement about the beloved dog.

David Saxton is scheduled for a Nov. 9 preliminary hearing.

Of note

The family claimed that Denali bit their daughter, but they did not seek medical treatment.

Justice for Denali

Please add your name to the petition to help us get justice for Denali. He did not deserve this brutal death and David Saxton must be held accountable.

We the undersigned demand that David Saxton be held accountable for Denali’s death. This dog was cruelly and brutally killed! We want this man to receive the maximum punishment allowable by law for the charges stemming from this deadly incident. If people who commit animal cruelty crimes are not punished, they are likely to re-offend.  This petition acts as our collective endorsement for the maximum penalty allowed by law. 

Individuals are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law. Animal Victory relies upon the authorities and the court system to determine guilt or innocence.


Daily Times

Final Update 05/13/2024: JUSTICE HAS NOT BEEN SERVED! David Saxton was sentenced to three years probation. He must comply with following directive(s) of Court: RESTRICTIVE PROBATION/CONDITIONS. Submit to DNA Testing – Pay Costs-Placed on electronic monitor for 3 months; comply with all program regulations. Comply with rules and regulations governing Probation and or Parole. Animal Victory is working on getting more details and the conditions governing his probation. Fees paid: $2,902.25


Update 2/09/2024: Animal Victory has learned that David Saxton’s Pre Trial conference is scheduled for 03/11/2024 at 9:00 a.m. E.S.T. Docket #CP-23-CR-0005648-2023. His bail was set at $20,000. Uncertain if he has made bail.

Update 1/26/2024: Animal Victory sent petition to attorney and judge. 

Update 1/23/2024: David Saxton’s formal arraignment was on 1/10/2024 at 8:00 a.m. E.S.T. His pre-trial conference is on 2/6/2024 at 9:00 a.m. E.S.T. before Judge Mary Alice Brennan. Saxton has been charged with 3rd degree felonies.  Aggravated Cruelty to Animals Torture and Aggravated Cruelty to Animals causing SBI or Death. Frederick J. Stollsteimer is the District Attorney.

Update 11/20/2023: Animal Victory left a voicemail with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for Officer Jason Bell who is allegedly investigating this case, and asked for a call back on case status. Officer Bell is reported to be employed with the Delaware County ASPCA as a Humane Officer.

Man Strangled And Slashed Throat Of Newly Adopted Dog

20,439 signatures = 102% of goal

Share This Petition


Latest Signatures
20,439 Janet M. The 3-year probation sentence given to Saxton is a travesty of justice. Please voice your disgust to Judge Brennan and Delco officials. People who torture and kill animals must be criminally charged to the fullest extent of the law (felony conviction!!). May 12, 2024
20,438 PHILIP S. there is NO excuse May 11, 2024
20,437 Jill H. May 05, 2024
20,436 Crystal T. May 03, 2024
20,435 tina r. May 02, 2024
20,434 stacy s. Apr 30, 2024
20,433 DEBORAH C. What a disgusting individual. I hope he receives the full penalty of the law. Apr 29, 2024
20,432 Ania Zoe S. Poor Dog 😥😔 Kranker Bastardo-Tiermörder dead 👹👿 Apr 28, 2024
20,431 Gayne W. Apr 26, 2024
20,430 Margarita C. Apr 26, 2024
20,429 Zelma S. This baby needs justice omg he is a murder poor dog omg strangle this guy eye for an eye this animal was looking for love have no sympathy for murderer. Apr 20, 2024
20,428 Linda H. Apr 20, 2024
20,427 Rhonda L. Apr 19, 2024
20,426 Joannie R. Apr 18, 2024
20,425 C B. Apr 17, 2024
20,424 terry f. Apr 17, 2024
20,423 Lisa W. Apr 16, 2024
20,422 Monique E. Apr 14, 2024
20,421 Gally L. stopped tortured animals Apr 12, 2024
20,420 Kt H. Apr 11, 2024