Necrospy supports dog owner's story

Betty Richardson's Chihuahua, Noah, died of traumatic injuries according to a necropsy.

Richardson has accused her Raleigh neighbor David Upchurch of fatally injuring Noah on Aug. 30 by holding him down and squeezing him between his breastbone and neck. Police charged Upchurch with misdemeanor cruelty to animals.

A necropsy performed by Rollins Laboratory on Blue Ridge Road found gross lesions that were “consistent” with the trauma Richardson reported. The lab also found a bruise on Noah's upper sternum and trauma in his eyes described as “episcleral injection.”

Upchurch, who is scheduled in court Oct. 7 to answer the cruelty charge, said he plans to bring a medical expert to go over the report.

“That's interesting,” he said of the report. “I never touched the dog's chest or eyes.”

Upchurch, who works in The News & Observer's information services department, said he was defending himself and his black Labrador from a growling, teeth-baring Noah. He said he didn't use enough pressure to kill the dog.

The necropsy report noted that Noah, 12, had a history of heart disease but that it did not contribute to the dog's death.

The story of Noah's death has been distributed widely on the Internet, and Richardson said she has been invited to appear next week on NBC's Today Show.