The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a man who was caught on surveillance video abusing a small Shih Tzu at an animal boarding facility.
In a video released by the sheriff’s office, a man identified by police as 18-year-old Joseph Tyler Pendergrass, an employee of the boarding facility, can be seen hoisting the dog into the air by his leash and slamming him to the ground. Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey described the abuse in a video message as “one of the most egregious and despicable acts of animal cruelty I’ve ever seen.”
Ivey said the abuse was discovered on Jan. 22 when staff at a local boarding facility realized that the dog had suffered a broken leg while in their care. The owner of the boarding facility reviewed video surveillance footage and saw Pendergrass abusing the animal. The facility immediately reported him to law enforcement, according to Ivey.
The sheriff did not name the local boarding facility, but emphasized that the owner and the rest of the staff had done nothing wrong. They “in fact are heroes in my eyes for not only investigating what had happened, but also for reporting the crime and working closely with our animal cruelty unit to make sure that the offender is never around helpless animals again,” Ivey said.
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“If you can harm an innocent animal like this, I have to wonder if you could harm a human being with the same level of malice,” he added.
The sheriff’s office arrested Pendergrass Friday on felony charges of cruelty to animals.