A 36-year-old man from South Florida is being held at Palm Beach County jail on charges of animal cruelty after a 10-pound Shih Tzu named Cujo was rushed to a Lake Worth animal hospital with injuries resembling those a dog that small would get from being hit by a car, or attacked by another dog, the New York Daily News reports.
Michelle Etzel, the Shih Tzu’s owner, alleged that her son David was drunk and was teasing her 2-year-old rescued Shih Tzu, Cujo. Michelle told Palm Beach County deputies that David was grabbing the Shih Tzu by the throat and lifting the terrified pup off the ground. Scared and in pain, the 10-pound Shih Tzu bit the 385 pound, 6-foot-8 David, who retaliated by biting the dog in the face. When Etzel lowered the dog back to the ground, his mother reported, she saw the Shih Tzu’s eye hanging from its socket.
Michelle’s other son then woke up and helped her rush the Shih Tzu to the veterinarian, who called the authorities to report the animal abuse.
When the sheriff’s deputies arrived at the hospital, the veterinarian assigned to Cujo told them that she typically sees this kind of trauma when a dog is hit by a car, or attacked by another dog. She added that it must have been a very violent attack to leave that Shih Tzu with such serious injuries.
The officers found David Etzel still at his mother’s home, asleep. The arrest report states that Etzel admits the Shih Tzu had bit him, but asserted that he would never harm the dog.
Cujo the Shih Tzu, who was rescued by Michelle from her son’s friend who was unable to feed it and is one of three Shih Tzus owned by Michelle, suffered serious injuries as a result of the vicious attack, but is reportedly on the mend after having to have two eye surgeries. Family members are helping to foot the $2,200 veterinary bill. Mrs. Etzel vows to never speak to her son David again.
“I’m feeling sick. I can’t go to sleep. I’m holding my dog 24/7. Even though he doesn’t feel good, his little tail is wagging.”
Bail for David Etzel is set at $10,000. He is being held on charges of animal cruelty.
In the state of Florida, animal cruelty is considered a fist-degree misdemeanor, which carries with it a maximum sentence of one year in jail, and/or a fine of no more than $5,000.
Is that sentence enough for what David Etzel did to his mother’s Shih Tzu?
[Image Credit: Header stock photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images, Body image from NY Daily News]