A man who tried to have his dog's body cremated was arrested Wednesday on an animal cruelty charge. Authorities said he beat the white puppy and choked it to death at his home.
Shane Thompson, 20, who lives west of Boca Raton, took the dead, three-legged dog, named Moonshine, to Cole Animal Clinic in Boca Raton on Oct. 7, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. Thompson told the staff that his pet, a wolf-dog mix, had died that morning, possibly from a seizure.
A veterinarian examined the dog and found it had bruised ears and a bloody nose. Moonshine had food stuck in his throat and likely choked to death, the vet said, according to the report.
The same day, a friend of Thompson's called Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control to say he believed Thompson had killed his pet. He said Thompson had called asking for money to pay for the cremation.
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"Our investigators spent lots of hours trying to find that dog," animal control Capt. David Walesky said Thursday.
They eventually tracked down the dog at the animal clinic and demanded that the staff release the body. A necropsy concluded that Moonshine, who was less than a year old, had been beaten and then choked to death.
Investigators interviewed Thompson's roommate and friends, who all said they had seen Thompson abusing Moonshine in an attempt to discipline the animal.
At one point, Thompson's roommate told detectives Thompson bit off a piece of the dog's ear.
If convicted, Thompson faces up to five years in prison.
Thompson is a gay porn actor known by the stage name Jason Creed, authorities said. According to the police report, he and his roommate bought the dog in February.
When Thompson's roommate arrived home from work on Oct. 7, Moonshine lay dead on the floor. Thompson said the dog tried to bite him but never explained how he died.
Animal control investigators had been called to the apartment twice since February after getting complaints that the puppy was heard yelping in pain. But the dog was unhurt and didn't seem scared, Walesky said, so they issued Thompson a warning.
"There are a lot of people who are heavy-handed, but that's not a reason to take their dog away," Walesky said. "We can do something if the dog is hurt or terrified of someone."