PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Charlotte County Animal Control has filed charges in an animal cruelty case they call "horrific," which has also garnered a lot of social media attention.
Brian Jones, the division manager for animal control, says a 6-month-old dog was dragged by a chain down a Port Charlotte road, killing him on June 8.
Investigators identified the driver, but could not arrest him when he was found in DeSoto County.
"We really didn’t have the option to arrest him right on the spot, but we did have the option to gather all the information that we could to submit it to the State Attorney’s Office with the request for a felony warrant," Jones explained.
Animal Control in Charlotte County does not have the legal authority to arrest someone. If there's an arrest warrant, it will go to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.
This all stemmed from a Ring camera video showing the driver dragging the 6-month-old Catahoula mix named Diesel down the road. Jones says people flagged down the driver, though Diesel had already died.
"To just think of an animal being dragged by a chain from a back of a truck is unspeakable, no matter what their intentions are," Jones said.
Once the photos of the truck were posted by Charlotte County agencies, along with the Ring video posted by a neighbor, DeSoto County deputies found the driver on Sunday in Arcadia.
A tip came in, Jones says, about the truck. When deputies talked to the driver, he admitted to the crime, but says it was an accident.
"We believe that it was an act of cruelty whether it be an accident or not," Jones said. "That’s a pretty big accident in our opinion and that’s a live animal."
An animal they cannot find. The driver told Animal Control he had dumped Diesel's body, though could not tell them where.
Jones says the driver is from Alabama and is working construction here.
He could be arrested if the State Attorney's Office finds probable cause and a judge signs off on a warrant, which would then go to the sheriff's office. The driver could face two charges: felony animal cruelty and misdemeanor disposal of a body.
"This is probably a little bit more graphic than what we’re typically used to," Jones said. "In our opinion, that animal died a very gruesome, horrible death."