Dog found dead after brutally beaten, stabbed in Lehigh Acres; man arrested

Reporter: Breana Ross
Published: Updated:
Vicasso Lara (LCSO)

A Lehigh Acres man was arrested Friday night when a brutally beaten and stabbed dog was found dead inside a home oven, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to the single-family home in the 4500 block of 20th St. SW in Lehigh Acres to conduct a well-being check.

Deputies say initial information indicated that a suspect, identified as 24-year-old Vicasso Lara, at the location had been threatening people at a residence in the 100 block of East 11th St., where he had also reportedly killed his dog.

After speaking with Lara and one witness, deputies responded to the home on 11th Street SW where they found several pools of blood outside of the residence and bloody footprints near the back entrance.

Detectives immediately executed a search warrant and discovered the body of a dog in the kitchen oven, which was turned on to the highest setting.

Their investigation found that Lara had repeatedly stabbed the dog, beaten it with a bludgeon and otherwise brutalized the dog before placing it inside the oven.

Lara was arrested and faces charges for torture/inflict pain/serious physical injury/death upon an animal.

Staff at Gulf Coast Humane Society say they remember the day Lara adopted a dog named Iris from their center back in February.

“I think he was with his father, I believe,” said Brian Wierima, the GCHS community relations coordinator. “They were both happy to bring Iris into the family.”

Now, Lara is behind bars for brutalizing and killing the family pet.

“It was tough to see what happened to her … It makes it especially hard because we knew she had a tough life to start with,” Wiermia said. “It’s gotta be a mental health issue, especially during this time where people are locked in.”

Wiermia said this is an extreme example and reminder for people to check in on loved ones and those you are close with.

“Be aware if a family member is starting to get stressed, acting a lot different,” Wiermia said. “Get them help. Reach out to them. Get them help, so that nothing like this can happen again.”

Deputies booked Lara into the Lee County Jail, where he is being held on $5,000 bond, set by a judge Sunday morning. Lara’s next scheduled court date is May 4.

β€œI’m speechless,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in the post. β€œThis is possibly the most brutal and horrific example of animal abuse my team or I have ever seen. We will pursue the absolute maximum punishment for this horrific crime.”

UPDATE: Lara posted $5,000 bond Sunday and is schedule to appear in court May 4.

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