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Detroit Lakes man faces charges of assaulting girlfriend, killing puppy

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - A Detroit Lakes man made his first appearance Tuesday in Becker County District Court on charges of cruelty to animals and domestic assault.

Gary Sean Norcross, 23, of Detroit Lakes, is facing one felony count of cruelty to animals resulting in death or substantial bodily harm, one count of felony domestic assault-inflict harm and one count of felony domestic assault-cause fear.

The charges stem from an Oct. 24 incident at Norcross's residence. His girlfriend had just awakened from a nap when they became involved in an argument. He allegedly proceeded to strike her across her face, then picked up her four-month-old Chihuahua puppy and threw it against a wall, killing it.

The woman then attempted to leave, but Norcross allegedly wouldn't let her; when she attempted to call 911 on her cell phone, he grabbed it from her hand and threw it away from her.

She managed to get away from him about a half hour later, and showed up at the Becker County Sheriff's Department lobby, where she asked to speak to an officer. She was carrying the dead puppy and crying; the officer observed multiple bruises on her arms and a cut on the inside of her lip; he took the puppy from her as evidence.

Norcross had previously been adjudicated delinquent on three domestic violence-related offenses within the past 10 years, including two counts of fourth degree assault in 2001, and two separate charges of fifth degree assault in 2001 and 2002.

He has been released on $3,000 bail pending a Nov. 8 court hearing.

The Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Herald are both Forum Communications Co. newspapers.