A Cape Coral man was charged with felony animal cruelty after police found him dragging a pair of severely injured puppies officials say were hurt so badly they may have to be euthanized.
Pedro Moreta, 52, of 4322 Palm Tree Blvd., was arrested late Sunday night after police received a call that a man was dragging and kicking two dogs as he walked along the 1200 block of Cape Coral Parkway. The caller believed that one of the animals may have been dead.
Arriving officers saw Moreta, who had two puppies on a single leash. The animals, weighing about 5 pounds each, were cowering under Moreta as he spoke with officers and also shaking and crying, officials said.
According to police, Moreta appeared intoxicated and had just purchased beer from the Citgo Station. Moreta reportedly told the officers the puppies were approximately 8 weeks old.
The tan female puppy, "Bella," was shaking and bleeding excessively from her paws and rear legs as she lay on the asphalt, officials said. The black puppy, "Blaca," was shaking and had difficulty standing. When asked by officers what he was doing, Moreta reportedly replied that the dogs did not want to walk so he was dragging them along.
Lee County Animal Control was called to assist with the investigation. Animal Control officers determined that the injuries sustained by the puppies constituted abuse. Animal Control further determined that the injuries were severe enough to be considered life-threatening and that the puppies may have to be euthanized due to the likelihood of severe internal injuries.
Bella had most of her front paw pads torn off and also had severe scrapes and possible chemical burns on her rear legs, officials said, adding Bella's rear pads were torn apart along with the front of her rear legs, caused when she was too exhausted to resist and collapsed as she was being dragged. Bella also sustained scraps and cuts to her stomach. She was bleeding from all four of her paws and was shaking uncontrollably during the investigation. Bella and Blaca, who are 8 weeks old, would cower when Moreta would come near them. At one point Blaca walked over to Bella and laid on top of her to shield her from Moreta, officials said.
According to police, the investigation revealed that Moreta intentionally caused unnecessary and repeated pain to both puppies. He was placed under arrest for animal cruelty and taken to the Lee County Jail.
The dogs were taken by Lee County Animal Control.