Plea deal reached in animal cruelty case
LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - "How can a person just sit around and let a dog starve to death?" questioned Marcella Jason, 39, of Lehigh Acres.
That's what neighbors are saying about 41-year-old Kevin Gdowik who copped a plea to accusations of starving his two dogs.
In one case, investigators found Oreo, a beagle-boston-terrier mix, emaciated and covered with fleas and sores in a bare room. In another, deputies found his other dog, Hershey, buried in a shallow grave behind Gdowik's home.
"I have a dog, neighbors have a dog, come ask 'can i get a scoop of dog food!'," remarked Jason, who lives next door to Gdowik.
According to sworn affidavits from the Lee County Animal Services on February 2, Kimberly Rosado, a witness said Gdowik "Kept them confined to a small bedroom. Didn't feed them or water them." And there's more. Latasha Weaver, another witness, testified that Oreo and Hershey were "very skinny and very aggressive". She said Gdowik told her he was going to "tell officers the dogs were strays so no one would get in trouble."
Neighbors were shocked when Fox 4 shared what Gdowik did for a living. He worked at Petmsart on Colonial Blvd in Fort Myers.
"Are you kidding me?" added Jason.
In a statement, Petsmart said it's "deeply disturbed" by the incident. The company tells Fox 4 that Gdowik was terminated two days after his arrest on April 12. Petsmart also said there's "...no evidence that he committed animal abuse to any pets in our care while he was employed by us."
And neighbors are disgusted a man who had access to pet food seemed willing to let them starve.
"Speechless right now," said Jason. "You work at a pet store and you bring no food for your animals at home!"
After Gdowik serves his 31-day jail sentence, he will be on probation for 10 years, including under house arrest for two years. And the judge says he's forbidden from owning any pets.
The surviving dog, Oreo, has been adopted into a good home.