Published: Mar 29, 2011 11:10 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 29, 2011 8:17 PM EDT

LEHIGH ACRES, FL-?A four month old puppy thrown from a 2nd floor balcony. Her owner now behind bars.
Neighbors say the Lehigh woman was protecting her family, Animal Control officers tell a different story.

Jeff Hale holds his puppy and says, "They're four months old now."

He bought his puppy Cocoa and his sister Sable months ago.

He says, "They played they fought, they're supposed to do that, but then she started ripping him up when they were eating."

So Hale gave "Sable" to his neighbors, Cathy Garrison and her boyfriend, but then something went wrong.

"We got a call from an anonymous person at a veterinary clinic saying that an animal was brought to them with injuries it had sustained from possibly having been thrown from a balcony."

Sable was brought to a local vet who told it's owners it would cost around 2 thousand dollars to repair the injury.

Deputies say the owners decided to put the dog down, saying they couldn't afford it.

"It's very difficult to imagine how someone could do that to a defenseless creature."

Cathy Garrison was arrested after animal control says she admitted tossing the puppy.

"There were a couple of reasons given that the dog was soiling within the home, that she was very frustrated by the presence of the dog, there were some problems with intoxication."

Hale says it was more than that.

"She said that dog threatened her grandchild, a baby, puppy grandchild who comes first."

Animal control officers aren't buying it.

"It's not something we can comprehend or find acceptable."