Two men have been accused in separate incidents of alleged bestiality in North Fort Myers.
Lee County Domestic Animal Services cited Thomas R. Linville, 55, a transient, for sexual activity involving animals on Friday. Under Florida statues, the violation is a first-degree misdemeanor.
The alleged incident took place on July 20.
Dennis E. Griffin, 57, of 4169 Pine Drop Lane, North Fort Myers, was cited under the Lee County ordinance for cruelty to animals on July 19. According to the ordinance, "It shall be unlawful for any person to molest or penetrate an animal of use the body parts of an animal for sexual gratification."
The alleged incident took place in October.
"Bestiality is prohibited by both Lee County ordinance and Florida state statue," Ria Brown, the spokeswoman for Lee County Domestic Animal Services, said in a prepared statement Wednesday.
"Animal Services considers crimes of this nature to be particularly cruel and disturbing and will investigate any leads for ultimate prosecution," she said.
Both cases involved witnesses, who reported the alleged incidents
According to the citations, the cases involved a pit bull and a boxer-pit bull mix.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant and removed Griffin's dog from his possession, and Lee County Domestic Animal Services was subsequently awarded custody.
On Wednesday, Griffin denied the allegations in a telephone interview.
"I've never been cruel to animals," he said.
Griffin explained that he believes a neighbor contacted Animal Services and that his dog was taken when he was not home. Griffin took in the dog when its previous owner could no longer care for it.
"It's all (BS)," he said of the charges.
Linville chose to surrender his dog to authorities, Brown reported.
He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Linville's violation carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine upon convicted.
Griffin faces a maximum penalty of a $500 fine.
Anyone with information regarding animal abuse is asked to call Lee County Domestic Animal Services at (239) 533-7387. To remain anonymous and be eligible to receive a reward for information that leads to an arrest, contact the Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at (800) 780-TIPS (8477).