Good grief, people suck: A Staten Island man named Frank Coppola was arrested yesterday on charges he beat his girlfriend's chihuahua to death. A necropsy performed on the three-year-old dog, named Bella, showed severe trauma to its chest, internal bleeding, several broken ribs, a ruptured jugular vein and bruised lungs. Coppola, 28, is accused of killing Bella in the apartment he shared with his girlfriend, Melissa DePietro, after the dog bit him.

DePietro was not in the apartment at the time; she found out when Coppola called her to say, "There's a problem with the dog. I don't know what happened." She rushed home and took Bella—who had hemorrhaging in her eyes and blood coming from her mouth—to an animal hospital, where she was declared dead. Coppola tried to claim that the dog "ran into a wall" but ASCPA assistant director Joseph Pentangelo wasn't buying it, because of the "catastrophic injures." Still, it took six months to indict Coppola because "he was trying to convince DePietro that the cops would lock her up."

DePietro eventually moved out and the couple broke up. She tells the Staten Island Advance she was initially reluctant to bring Bella when she moved in with Coppola, because "a lot of people kept telling me that he's jealous of the dog." Before the alleged murder, DePietro had gone to Atlantic City for a week, and during that time, the dog "ran away" and got lost. When she got back, they found Bella, but she was acting strangely and DePietro took her to the vet, who gave Bella a clean bill of health.

A week later, Bella was dead. So Coppola's lawyer is arguing that "something happened to this dog, but there were other opportunities for other people to do this when the dog was lost. It certainly didn't happen by Mr. Coppola's hand. He vehemently denies the charges." Yesterday, a grand jury indicted Coppola on charges of felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty. But back in December, a cat killer got off with community service, so we'll be interested to see whether the punishment fits this crime.