At the Bay Parc Plaza on North Bayshore Drive in Miami, a concerned citizen has expressed her concern about the safety and welfare of a German shepherd who allegedly has been kept outdoors on the balcony day and night regardless of the weather. Reports have been made to the Miami Police Department as well Miami-Dade Animal Services after a witness claimed to have seen the dog being abused as his owner punched and struck him several times on the balcony of the 16th floor apartment.
On Wednesday evening, a video recorded one week ago was posted to social media showing a woman cleaning the patio after the dog most likely urinated or defecated. The woman appears to be striking the dog or lowering his face into the spot where he urinated; a slight yelp can be heard.
After hundreds of phone calls to Animal Services and to Chief Assistant Kathleen Hoague, at the Miami-Dade State Attorney General’s Office, the following response arrived via email on Friday from media relations representative Terry Chavez, stating there was insufficient evidence to charge the German shepherd’s owner with animal cruelty:
“In consultation with Miami-Dade Animal Services asking for our legal opinion on this case, we advised Animal Services that there was no medical evidence that an animal cruelty crime had been committed. We had two of our finest prosecutors review the video, which is the only evidentiary item submitted, which depicted the following: a view from an opposing building’s window of the balconies of the neighboring apartments. On one of the balconies, there appears a woman and a dog. The woman appears to be cleaning up a mess left by the dog with a paper towel. At one point it appears that the woman makes contact with the dog, but it is impossible to tell the degree of force utilized. The woman at one time also seems to have the dog lie down on its belly and again makes contact with the dog, but it is impossible to tell the degree of force utilized. The videographer remarks that the woman is having the dog eat the feces, but that is impossible to determine definitively in the video.”
The email continues with an explanation of the applicable statute relating to animal cruelty; misdemeanor, F.S. §828.12(1) and continues to provide further information stating Animal Control personally visited the owner and observed the dog’s physical and emotional condition:
“The video does not provide sufficient evidence to prove the elements of the statute beyond and to exclusion of every reasonable doubt. Without audible yelps, visual depiction of the degree of force utilized to make contact with the dog or other indisputable indication, pain and suffering, from the video submitted, it is impossible to prove beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. Further undermining any criminal action is the fact that Animal Control visited the dog and the owner and examined the dog in question. The dog was not underweight or otherwise appear to be neglected. The dog had no injuries and responded appropriately, did not cower and was familiar with the occupants of the house. The dog was in good shape and there was no evidence of injury or neglect such that the dog suffered injury or death.”
Although the Attorney General’s Office agrees the behavior exhibited by the dog owner may not be advisable and is in no way condoned, there is insufficient evidence as per the law for an animal cruelty charge. The video can be viewed below. What do you think? Photos and video of German shepherd being abused via Lenka Herejkova.
The video can be viewed here: