Florida Keys

A man accused of beating his Chihuahua is in trouble again after threat

The man who pleaded no contest in 2015 to abusing this dog, Batman, in Marathon, was arrested Jan. 4 for DUI and threatening a police officer’s family.
The man who pleaded no contest in 2015 to abusing this dog, Batman, in Marathon, was arrested Jan. 4 for DUI and threatening a police officer’s family.

The right to remain silent didn’t take for one Key West DUI suspect, according to police.

David Anthony Gross, 52, who made headlines in 2015 after witnesses said he beat his Chihuahua mix in public, now faces felony charges for threatening violence on a police officer’s family and aggravated fleeing law enforcement.

Gross was jailed Jan.4 after police said he crashed a silver Volkswagen Jetta near Duval Street, causing property damage, and kept driving while officers tailed him with their lights flashing until he stopped at Reynolds and South streets. He was also arrested on suspicion of driving drunk, leaving the scene of a crash and driving without a valid license.

Smelling of booze, Gross was barely able to walk and his speech was so slurred it was difficult to understand him, Officer Michael Pettee wrote in the arrest report.

“Although Gross has a strong smell of body odor, I was able to smell an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath,” Pettee wrote.

Gross, who recently finished up a jail sentence after violating his probation left from the animal cruelty conviction, also twice threatened to harm Pettee and his family, stating he would “get them,” the report states.

At the county jail on Stock Island, Gross refused a breath test and stood up as he repeated the threat of violence he first made while in the patrol car. When Gross refused to sit down, Pettee said he solved that problem.

The officer elbowed Gross in the stomach, forcing him against a jail wall and “pulled his legs out from under him, resulting in him sitting back down,” Pettee wrote.

Friday, Gross remained jailed on $45,000 bond.

Animal cruelty case

In June 2015, Gross was arrested on animal cruelty charges after witnesses at City Marina in Marathon told police he beat, choked and abused Batman, a small dog who already had a mangled front leg from it being broken and not properly set. Gross swung Batman from his leash, bouncing him up and down, and threatened to throw him in the water.

Batman was also thin and malnourished.

Within three months, Gross pleaded no contest to misdemeanor animal cruelty and failing to register as a convicted felon. Judge Ruth Becker sentenced him to six months plus a year of probation, plus the forfeiture of Batman.

Gross, an ex-con from Michigan who gave Key West police a North Carolina address, violated probation in January 2016 and was sentenced to 364 days in jail, prosecutors said.

The jail listed Gross as homeless in Key West.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen

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