A Lehigh Acres man has been found guilty of aggravated animal cruelty after tying his dog to a basketball post for days, according to State Attorney Amira D. Fox.
Salvador Carbajal Garcia, 40, was found guilty after a two-day trial. He was taken into custody after the trial to await sentencing.
Lee County Domestic Animal Services responded to a complaint about a dog tied to a basketball post in a driveway of a Lehigh Acres home on March 4, 2019. The caller said the dog was not provided any shelter.
Upon arrival, an officer found the dog with no collar and a leash tied around his neck, in knots and attached to the post.
The brown and white dog had a large, open wound around his neck from the leash and the “makeshift leash-collar” became embedded into the skin.
A veterinarian testified at the trial that the dog’s wound was at least 25 days old. There was also no shelter and a small amount of water. The dog was in distress.
There was a BMW in the driveway and the dog had been pulling to try to get to the car to find shelter, but the knotted leash wasn’t long enough.
The officer took custody of the dog to get him medical care when no one answered the door at the home.
Garcia, who had the dog named “Walter” for several years, went to animal services to sign away custody of the dog.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office joined the investigation and arrested Garcia after gathering further evidence, which included witnesses who had seen the ongoing lack of care for Walter.
“An animal owner must meet the basic responsibilities when it comes to the care of a pet; food, water and shelter. Animal cruelty is against the law in Florida and those who violate the law will be prosecuted,” said Fox.
Garcia is scheduled for sentencing on March 2 in front of the Honorable Judge Bruce Kyle.
Assistant State Attorney Erin Hughes and Felony Court Chief Tyler Lovejoy prosecuted the case.