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A Tarrant County couple is in jail Tuesday after authorities found three puppies beaten and burned to death in a barrel.

Christopher Apala, 33, and Melissa Woodard, 38, were arrested Saturday on suspicion of animal cruelty, and are currently being held at the Tarrant County Jail, each on $15,000 bail.

At 2:05 p.m. on June 22, the Tarrant County Sheriff s Office responded to a general disturbance call on the 7300 block of Cottonwood Creek Road, an unincorporated part of Tarrant County.

Upon arrival, a woman - believed to be Woodard s sister - led authorities to a nearby residence on Bridle Bit Trail. There, deputies found three beaten and burned dead puppies in a barrel. Detectives and crime scene personnel were called to begin a full investigation.

In an interview Tuesday morning, Apala told authorities the couple had no food for themselves or the puppies, and that beating and burning the dogs was a mercy kill, because they were starving.

The couple also admitted to smoking marijuana and using methamphetamine prior to Saturday, but said they were not high that day.

At this time, the investigation is ongoing. A case has yet to be filed, but authorities expect to soon press charges of animal cruelty.

E-mail mschmitt@wfaa.com

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