|Published:||Jul 11, 2012 3:20 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 11, 2012 6:57 PM EDT|
LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- A Lehigh Acres man is facing felony charges of animal abuse, after investigators say he starved two dogs and locked them up inside an empty room. Now, the Naples couple that adopted the one surviving dog is pushing for a harsh punishment for the man.
41-year old Kevin Gdowik was arrested in April on four counts of animal cruelty. Lee County Domestic Animal Services found one Beagle-Boston Terrier mix emaciated inside a bare room of the home.
"Next to the property, there seemed to be a fresh grave where something had just been buried," LCDAS's Ria Brown said Wednesday.
Animal Services officers found the body of a starved dog inside the shallow grave.
Gdowik says the dogs belonged to a former roommate. He admitted to locking them up in a bare room, but denied starving them.
"It's appalling. He had his own dogs in the house as well, that he had fed and cared for. But he let those two stay in the bedroom and starve to death," Brown said.
Gdowik surrendered the surviving pup to LCDAS. Julia Love adopted the dog, now known as Nala, and nursed her back to health.
"She was terrified. She would scream the house down every time we left her. She was fearful, she was afraid. If you put your hand out to her, she'd cower away," Love said Wednesday.
Today, only a few scars remain as a reminder of the now vibrant dog's deplorable past.
Still, Love isn't satisfied. She's now starting an online petition to bring to Gdowik's court hearing next week. The petition asks the judge to issue the harshest punishment to fit the heinous crime.
"We plan to submit it to the judge and go to the court case. We just feel he should be punished to the full extent of the law for what he did," Love said.
Kevin Gdowik is scheduled to appear in a Lee County courtroom regarding the animal cruelty charges on July 18th. Each felony count of animal cruelty carries a maximum penalty of 5-years in prison or a $10,000 fine.
As of Wednesday, Love had over 500 signatures on her online petition.
For more information about the petition, click here.
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