Children at the Polos witness man brutalizing dog
Published: Friday, September 13, 2013 at 2:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 13, 2013 at 2:47 p.m.
The Gainesville Police Department is seeking information on a man three children saw brutally choke and beat a dog Thursday afternoon in what an Alachua County Animal Services investigator called the worst beating case she has seen.
Animal Services took the dog to the Affiliated Pet Emergency Services clinic, where she is stable but not yet out of the woods, investigator Jessica Lauginiger said. The frontal part of the dog's skull was fractured near her eyes, and she has a 3-inch laceration on the back of her head so deep it reaches bone. Her stomach and face are bruised and swollen, and she is peeing blood.
Lauginiger said she had never seen a beating in which the dog's skull was fractured, which is pretty hard to do.
"It doesn't happen very often that we deal with something this brutal," she said. "This — just monstrous. There's really just no other word for it. This is the most severe beating case that I've seen."
Leslie Daniels said her 10- and 12-year-old daughters were outside playing late Thursday afternoon with her 9-year-old nephew at the Polos apartment complex, located at 2330 SW Williston Road, when they saw a slim, shirtless man in gym shorts dragging the dog by a leash. The dog's eyes were bloodshot.
The children watched him choke the dog with the leash before whipping off her collar, which had a metal buckle, and beating her with it.
"The dog ended up having a big old gash open in her head. She had minor cuts in her legs, she was bleeding through her nose, and he just kept beating and beating her," Daniels said. "And my 12-year-old daughter stood up and said, ‘You need to take care of your animals because that's animal cruelty,' and the guy took off and left the dog there to die."
Her children came to get her, and Daniels and her family got the dog out of the road, laid her on a blanket and called Animal Services. Daniels' mother, father and sister sat with them, and they all tried to keep the dog awake until Animal Services arrived, petting her and whispering soothingly. Trying to project love onto her.
After the dog was taken away for treatment, Daniels made fliers with a description of the man and what he did. She was out until 11:30 p.m. hanging them around the apartment complex and talking to residents out walking their dogs in the hope someone might know something about the culprit.
"I know it's not a human, but the dog did not deserve that. The dog deserves justice, too," she said.
Daniels said she was angry he beat the dog in front of children — and even more angry it happened in front of hers.
"They are too young to have to see humans being that nasty," she said. "I don't want to take the magic out of the world for them just yet."
Her nephew had nightmares all night, Daniels said, and ended up sleeping with her mom.
Her daughters wanted to lock the door because they were scared the man would come back for them. They cried themselves to sleep, she said.
When they got up for school this morning, they made her promise to tell them how the dog was doing as soon as she found out.
"I let my girls know that they were heroes for helping the animal," she said.
GPD sent personnel to the scene Thursday after the incident, which happened around 4:45 p.m., but there wasn't much information to go on, police spokesman Officer Ben Tobias told The Sun in an email. Animal Services had already taken the dog to the clinic.
GPD got a limited suspect description, and the investigating officer will go back to the Polos to talk to residents and try to identify the man. Anyone with information may call GPD at 955-1818.
Lauginiger, with Animal Services, said anyone with information is welcome to call her, as well, at 264-6880. The beating happened fairly deep in the apartment complex by Building 10, so the man might live at the Polos, she said.
Daniels' children said the man was skinny and tall — maybe 6 feet — with short, dark hair, Lauginiger said. He appeared to be between 24 and 34 years old and had a tattoo between his shoulder blades of some kind of lettering, although the children couldn't make out what it said.
GPD's official description is: a 5-foot-10 to 6-foot white male of medium build with brown hair and a tattoo between his shoulder blades.
Despite the dog's trauma, she is being sweet with the veterinary staff at the clinic, crawling into their laps and looking for some love, Lauginiger said.
Animal Services usually sets a $125 limit for veterinary costs, but the agency waived it so the dog can get all the care she needs, Lauginiger said. The emergency clinic will keep her hospitalized over the weekend, and then Animal Services will take over her care.
"She's a mess, but obviously they fell in love with her over there," she said. "We just fell in love with how brave she's being."
Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.