Florida Man Convicted Of Making Dog Swim With Dumbbell Around it’s Neck

Jacksonville’s animal owners typically take good care of their pets. However, there are those who are cruel to them. Florida’s legislature has placed some steep penalties those convicted of animal cruelty crimes. If one has been charged with animal cruelty, one should contact an experienced attorney to fight for one’s case.

According to the Bradenton-Herald, Willie Bell of Manatee has been sentenced to 40 days in jail for tying a thirty pound dumbbell on around a dog’s neck and putting the dog in the Manatee river, twenty-five yards from shore. The dog was found by a police officer that was passing by in his vehicle.

Jacksonville animal cruelty crimes typically tend to be less violent crimes that involve someone hoarding animals or not feeding the animal everyday. However, there are occasionally those animal cruelty crimes that tend to be malicious and willfully cruel toward the animal. But how does the legal system determine how to properly deal with an animal cruelty case?

Intent is a major factor in crimes such as these, and Florida statutes, particularly Florida Statute 828.12, are written with intent in mind. Animal cruelty charges range from first degree misdemeanors to third degree felonies, the former carrying up to a year in jail, and the latter carrying up to five years. The legislature wrote the statute this way so that those who have cruel intentions against the animals are punished more heavily than those who were negligent or careless.

Intent is can sometimes be easy to determine and sometimes hard. However, typically the court as well as the lawyers involved will use the testimony of the accused to help sway a Judge or jury to find or not find intent. This can be great for the accused, specifically if the accused has told multiple witnesses as well as police that they have no intention of hurting animals. However, this can also be a horrible avenue for the accused if there has been any mention of hurting animals for fun or wishing mal-intent against the particular animal in question.

In a case such as Bell’s, intent will play a major part in not only the charge, but the sentencing phase, should the case go that far. In Bell’s case, his particular set of facts were played against him to the fullest extent. Bell took someone’s dog, strapped a thirty pound weight around its neck with what was described as a rubber cord, put 25 yards from the shore line, and was left treading water for fifteen minutes. Without an experienced Jacksonville animal crimes attorney at one’s side, facts like these could be finishing.


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

Additional Source: Man who tied dumbbell to dog in Manatee River gets jail time, Richard Dymond, The Bradenton-Herald