Charles Berube, of Methuen (meh-THOO'-ehn), appeared in court Thursday. A jury trial is scheduled for Aug. 20.

Berube owned the dog, named Spot, for 10 years. Animal welfare investigators say the 53-year-old told them the animal had been sick for weeks and had lost a lot of weight. It had swollen legs and had trouble walking.

Berube says he did not want the animal to suffer and could not afford a veterinarian. He said he did not want to burden a shelter with the animal. It was killed last July.

His lawyer refused to comment.