Jacksonville Man Faces Animal Cruelty Charges For Starving Dogs

A 21-year-old Jacksonville man has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty after two dogs, allegedly starving and covered in feces and urine, were found tied to a porch railing at an apartment in North Jacksonville, The Florida Times-Union reports.

There have been several incidents of animal cruelty in Jacksonville in recent months and in many cases, the alleged suspects were juvenile defendants. In this case, the suspect is only 21, only a few years removed from high school.
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Teens who face serious charges require the legal representation of an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer. And that representation should start as soon as your teen believes they have gotten in trouble. Before they make an incriminating statement, they should speak with a lawyer.

There are times when making a statement can be helpful, but they are rare. In most cases, not speaking to police is the better move. Everyone accused of a crime has certain rights. One of them is to remain silent. That means no one is required to speak with police, despite their best efforts to get you to talk.

In cases where people face charges as serious as animal cruelty, which can be charged as a felony in Florida, talking with police may not be the best move. Florida Statutes 828.12 defines animal cruelty as either overloading, tormenting or inhumanely treating an animal. That is the misdemeanor charge.

The felony charge means intentionally committing an act that causes death or pain and suffering to an animal. That is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, while the misdemeanor carries a maximum of a year in jail.

In this case, the newspaper’s account doesn’t make clear which version of the charge the man faces. Police got a call and went to the apartment one recent afternoon. A dog and a puppy were chained to the corner of the porch of an apartment building.

Police reported that the dogs were weak and thin and had flies swarming around them. Bones showed through their skin and while there was dog food in a bowl nearby, there was mold growing on it.

An animal control investigator arrived and tossed food to the older dog, but it appeared too weak to stand up to get it and instead laid down in a pile of urine, the newspaper reports. The 21-year-old said he had the dogs since June and thought they weren’t hungry, which is why they stopped eating.

The man was arrested and the dogs taken by authorities for treatment and healing.

In this case, the statement that the man allegedly made will do little to help him. The average juror likely won’t buy that excuse when confronted with pictures of the dogs. Saying nothing would have been the better move.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

More Blog Entries:

Two Jacksonville Teens Charged With Cat Torture: September 25, 2011
Jacksonville Juvenile Charged With Animal Cruelty: August 17, 2011
Additional Resources:

Starving dogs saved from Jacksonville apartment following owner’s arrest, by Dan Scanlan, The Florida Times-Union