State Politics

Update: Adam Putnam cancels campaign fundraiser with supporter who shot dogs

Florida Agriculture Commissioner and candidate for governor Adam Putnam.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner and candidate for governor Adam Putnam. AP

Adam Putnam has scrubbed plans to hold a fundraising reception Thursday at the Orlando home of a man videotaped in 2008 shooting two pet huskies that entered a cow pasture. The cancellation came hours after the Tampa Bay Times noted that the host of the reception, businessman Christopher Comins, had caused considerable outrage after the video of the shooting became public.

"The event has been canceled," was all Putnam Communications Director Meredith Beatrice would say about the last-minute change.

Wednesday night she dismissed a question about Comins hosting Putnam, noting that fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis had received money from a prominent Democratic donor.

In 2011, a judge acquitted Comins of animal cruelty charges, saying that he had been authorized to shoot the dogs by the property owner, who has a right to protect his cattle.

It's no secret that Adam Putnam, Florida agriculture commissioner, is a loyal NRA supporter and avid defender of gun rights. But aligning himself with a donor videotaped shooting two pet huskies multiple times at point-blank range could be a bridge too far for firearm enthusiasts.

The footage is hard to watch:

The dogs, Raley and Hoochie, survived, though Raley lost an eye.

Comins at the time said he was protecting the cattle. A judge in 2011 acquitted him of all charges, saying that Comins had been directed to shoot by the property owner, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Another host of the canceled fundraiser, Leland McKee, was arrested on extortion charges years ago. A candidate for Orange County clerk of court at the time, McKee allegedly threatened a man upset about McKee's having an affair with the man's wife.