Lee County man arrested after dog found with broken leg

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Canela (Photo provided by LCSO)

A Lee County man is behind bars after investigators said he intentionally broke a dog’s leg.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home Wednesday on Jupiter Road in east Fort Myers after the report of a disturbance. There, they found the 2-year-old female terrier mix, named Canela, suffering from a severe injury to her leg.

Jose Gustavo Hernandez-Rivera (Credit: LCSO booking photo)

The investigation found that Jose Gustavo Hernandez-Rivera, 28, intentionally swung a broom handle at Canela’s hind leg, and she was in obvious distress from the injury. A veterinarian confirmed the leg was fractured.

“It’s horrible,” Rebecca Agbner said. “He don’t deserve to be out; that’s for sure. He needs to rot in jail.”

We talked with pet owners at a nearby dog park who say they’re thankful deputies intervened when they did.

“That’s heartbreaking. That’s just devastating,” Jessica Stengel said. “I’m very happy that they stepped in.”

“If you’re going to have a dog, take care of them,” Chris Taqui. “Don’t hit on your dog. They don’t deserve it.”

Pet owners said they wouldn’t hesitate to make a call if they saw something happen similar to what Hernandez-Rivera is accused of.

“If I ever sensed anything or saw something off, I would absolutely call,” Stengel said.

“I love my dogs, probably more than people sometimes,” Bruce Ford said. “So I think I’d probably be the one to make that call.”

“Oh no, I’d go over and take the animal right away,” Agbner said. “There would be no calling. He, she would come right to our house.”

Canela was taken to Blue Pearl Pet Hospital, where she is receiving treatment for her broken leg. We called to ask for an update on her status and were referred to animal control. We don’t have a status at this time.

Hernandez-Rivera was arrested and faces a charge of animal cruelty. He remains in the Lee County Jail on a $20,000 bond.

“This man’s violent outburst caused serious injury to a defenseless dog,” said Sheriff Carmine Marceno. “Behavior like this will not be tolerated. I’ve been crystal clear, if you abuse an animal in Lee County, you will go to jail.”

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