CHINO HILLS ( — A Chino Hills man faced animal cruelty charges Thursday after he was allegedly caught on camera beating his dog in the backyard of his home, according to an animal rights group.

Qihui Zhai, 21, was charged June 6 after a family reported hearing what sounded like an animal crying in pain in late May, said Beth Les of the Inland Valley Humane Society & SPCA.

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When the family of three went to the window, they say they saw Zhai beating “Mookie”, a 3-year-old female Cocker Spaniel, according to Les. The two younger children, ages 12 and 17, took out their cameras and videotaped the alleged beating.

SPCA officials say since she was taken into custody, Mookie has healed from her injuries and found a new home. (Photo credit: Tom Wait)

SPCA officials say since she was taken into custody, Mookie has healed from her injuries and found a new home. (Photo credit: Tom Wait)

In the video, a man alleged to be Zhai is seen using some type of unidentified stick to poke and hit Mookie repeatedly over the dog’s head and backside.

You can hear the young boy behind the camera express angst — “I’m sorry, doggie” — and frustration: “I bet you he beats it everyday. And even if it did something really bad, like bite him, he’s been doing this for the past seven minutes, that I’ve been here. And I heard him more downstairs, but I thought the dog was just playing around.”

The children’s mother – who was not immediately identified – called the Inland Valley Humane Society & SPCA to report the alleged abuse. When Humane Officer William Taber arrived at the home, he found the dog in a neglected state and being kept in a “very small, feces-infested wire pen,” according to Les.

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Taber seized the dog and transported her to the SPCA’s resident shelter veterinarian, who examined the dog and started treatment immediately, Les said.

“We are never surprised by the ingenuity of today’s youth,” Les said. “Their quick thinking not only saved this dog from a lifetime of abuse, but they were able to ensure we had the evidence to pursue criminal charges against the abuser.”

Since she was taken into custody, Mookie has since healed and found a new home, according to Les.

Zhai had had the dog for three weeks before the alleged incident occurred.

When animal control officers confronted Zhai he initially tried to deny the allegations. When he learned there was a video he “kind of changed his denial.”

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If convicted, Zhai could face jail time and/or fines.