CLEVELAND -- A man has been charged with cruelty to animals after witnesses say he beat, hit and choked a dog Sunday.

The dog, in the meantime, is recovering comfortably in his new home with a Cleveland police officer who adopted him.

Officers were called to East 138th Street and Harvard Avenue at 2:30 a.m. for a call about a man beating a dog in the middle of the street.

When they arrived and talked to witnesses, one of whom had convinced the man to give him the dog, they learned the man had beat the dog with a leather belt, struck him in the face with a brick and then choked him.

The dog had injuries to his face, legs and paws. Officers said the dog jumped right into the front seat of their zone car and took a seat on the floor.

Peris Rice was later arrested and pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of cruelty to animals. He was given a $5,000 bond.

The dog was treated for his injuries at VCA Great Lakes Vet Specialists and was taken for fostering by patrol officer Brandon Melbar.

Melbar has since decided to adopt the dog and has named him Harvard.