According to Florida State Statute 828.12, “a person who intentionally commits an act to any animal, or a person who owns or has the custody or control of any animal and fails to act, which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, commits aggravated animal cruelty, a felony of the third degree.” Per Florida State Statute 775.082, the punishment for a felony of the third degree is imprisonment not to exceed five years.
Unfortunately, the statute and the sentencing were completely ignored when it came to deciding one of the cruelest and most disturbing acts of animal cruelty committed in the state of Florida. It all started on November 11th, 2011 when Mathew Milewski, a Miami Beach resident received a four-month-old Beagle puppy from Outback Beagles in Arkansas. When little Molly arrived by plane, her paperwork included a note saying,
“I hope she brings as much joy to you and your family as our dogs have brought us. I wish her a long life of happiness and contentment.’’
There is a feeling of poignancy now when reading these words as Molly got none of this. She was dead within 24 hours of being with Milewski. No sooner had he picked her up from the Miami International Airport, when residents of The Crown Apartments witnessed Mileweski dragging the helpless seven-pound puppy across the parking lot until she bled; beating her with the leash and slamming her against a hard surface. Per one resident who lived on the seventh floor, “This for me was a nightmare. For everybody in the building it was a nightmare.’’ She heard Molly screaming and witnessed from her balcony Milewski torturing the puppy. Another witness, a valet attendant Carlos Gregorio told police he was bringing a car from the garage when he “heard a loud scream from a dog.’’ Thinking he’d hit an animal, Gregorio got out of the car. That’s when he saw Milewski “striking his dog with the leash,’’ he told police.
Within 24 hours the dog was dead. Milewski tried to cover up his abuse and killing of the puppy, by telling police that he dropped the puppy in the shower.
He was arrested on November 18th, 2011. During a 20 minute, taped interview with investigators Tracy Sierra and Gus Sanchez, he (Milewski) consistently referred to the puppy as “it” and denied any wrongdoing. He claimed the dog’s death was merely an accident. He described in detail how he took Molly back to his apartment after he noticed one of her paws bleeding and tried to clean her in the shower. At one point in the interview, he said he “pushed’’ the dog in the shower. At another, he said he’d told a veterinarian at Alton Road Animal Hospital: “The way I threw the dog was definitely bad.’’
Milewski said after the dog hit the shower floor, he tried to revive her; then he took her to the vet. Dr. Heidi Foster, at Alton Road Animal Hospital, told police she tried to stabilize Molly, and although she was unconscious, Molly’s heart was beating normally. Twenty minutes later she received a call from Milewski saying the dog’s heart stopped beating in the car. Dr. Foster found this to be impossible as Molly’s heart was perfectly fine when she left the office and her vitals were also good.
Milewski returned to the animal hospital with the dead dog and relinquished her remains to Dr. Foster. Animal Services investigators retrieved the body to do the necropsy. Dr. Rosandra Manduca, a veterinary pathologist, determined that Molly’s death was due to brain injury caused by head trauma. Injuries on the dog’s body suggested being shaken and slammed against a hard surface. Bruising around the dog’s mouth and nostrils indicated she may have been smothered.
Since his arrest in 2012, Milewski’s case has gone through many twists and delayed for years due to a legal disagreement over whether investigators violated Milewski’s rights in seizing the dog’s remains from the animal clinic. But the Third District Court of Appeals agreed with prosecutors that Milewski abandoned his expectation of privacy in the puppy’s remains when he left her remains at the clinic.
On February 10th, 2017, Judge Yvonne Colodny, a judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court Criminal Division, despite testimony from eyewitnesses, investigators, a veterinarian, and a necropsy report, only sentenced Milewski to one year probation and ordered him to donate $1000.00 to the ASPCA. How can a person who commits such a calculated, intentional act of cruelty against a helpless puppy walk away with such a light sentence?
To express your concerns regarding Molly the Beagle and the light sentence received by Milewski contact Judge Yvonne Colodny via phone at 305-548-5182 or write letters to:
Judge Yvonne Colodny
Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building
1351 NW 12th Street
Miami, Florida 33125
A petition has been started asking the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission to force Judge Yvonne Colodny to step down from her position deeming her unfit to make ethical decisions.