Published: Apr 18, 2013 10:36 AM EDT
Updated: Apr 18, 2013 7:41 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A Lee County man has been charged with Cruelty to Animals for branding his dog among other offenses.

On April 15th, Jacob Bustin-Pitts received the misdemeanor citation when he came to Lee County Domestic Animal Services to claim his dog. The Florida Curr, named Redman, also has v-shaped notches in both ears and a docked tail. The brand is consistent with the type used on cattle. Redman is also extremely underweight, also has numerous wounds on his body. LCDAS is petitioning the court for custody of the dog.

Mr. Bustin-Pitts claimed he has never taken the dog to a veterinarian and used a staple gun to close wounds on the dog’s body. He also stated that he kept him “lean” as it is part of his “working dog” nature

LCDAS strongly cautions owners not to brand their pets. According to LCDAS veterinarian, Suzanne Vazzana, branding is considered to be “animal cruelty as considerable pain and suffering would be inflicted on the animal during the procedure and as the injury healed.” Any procedure such as suturing wounds, cropping ears, or docking tails should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian. Misdemeanor cruelty to animals is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines or five years in jail or both.

Animal Services considers crimes of this nature to be particularly cruel and disturbing and will investigate any leads for ultimate prosecution. Anyone with information regarding animal abuse is asked to call Animal Services at 239-533-7387. To be eligible to receive a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.