On Valentine’s Day, a woman’s small dog was killed by a Gainesville Regional Utilities employee. The man hit the pug with an 18-inch pry bar used to lift covers on water meters.
In a Facebook post, with more than 600 shares, the dog’s owner, Kiley Walker, said she wants “justice” for “my little man.”
She said it took two days before she learned from the company how her pug, Bentley, really died.
“My baby boy Bentley was killed by a worker for the Gainesville Regional Utilities, FL (GRU),” she wrote on the Tuesday post, which includes a video of the pug frolicking. The video has been viewed more than 27,000 times.
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Apparently, Bentley, who would have been 2 in April, was playing with Luna, a roommate’s dog in their yard, but the animals got out through an open gate the lawn guys failed to shut, Walker wrote.
“As soon as we realized they were missing, we immediately started running around the neighborhood looking for them. Luna was found but Bentley was not. My roommate noticed a few GRU trucks and workers down the street and decided to go ask if they’d seen anything,” Walker wrote.
She said the crew seemed flustered and eventually pointed to where Bentley’s limp body lay in the grass. Walker said she and her roommate were led to believe the pug had been hit by a car.
But on Friday, Walker said two GRU supervisors came to her house to tell her that the pug was hit with a meter stick by a worker who feared the dog was charging him. Self defense, Walker was told.
“Anyone who knows Bentley knows that he was the sweetest boy. A grown man thought he needed to defend himself against a pug who isn’t even 25 pounds,” she wrote on Facebook. “The workers of this company let my roommates and I believe that someone had hit my sweet Bentley in a car, all the while they sat and watched us cry over his dead body knowing what they had done but said nothing.”
Walker is using the hashtag, #JusticeForBentleyBoy, to tell her story.
But on Wednesday, GRU officials told The Gainesville Sun that while the event “was unfortunate,” the dog, accompanied by a pitbull mix, became aggressive, and left the employee with few options. The utility company is not releasing the employee’s name because of online threats.
Doug Mercer, GRU’s utility operations manager, told The Sun the pug was biting a GRU employee’s leg, while the larger dog growled. The employee then struck the smaller dog with the plastic handle of the pry bar. The employee was following protocol and will not be disciplined, Mercer told The Sun.
Walker isn’t buying the explanation.
“There is no excuse for this kind of animal cruelty,” she wrote on Facebook.
While most of the comments on her post express support for Walker, and speak of the gentle nature of pugs, some people defend the utility workers.
“People …the dog was biting him. All dogs will bite. It is sad but the worker was being attacked. Maybe the blame is on the person who left the gate open. He did not go into their yard and hit the dog. He was attempting to do his job.”