LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County Sheriff's deputies arrested 20-year-old John Smith today, after a traffic stop revealed he had a warrant out for animal cruelty.
On March 21st, Lee County Animal Services responded to a tip about a dead dog in a canal on Zoysia Ln. Upon arrival, the officer found a young, female, pit bull that had apparently been shot or stabbed in the face and the throat. The animal's eye and tongue were missing. The dog had a large bruise on its shoulder and was missing fur from the left side of its body.
The dog did not have a microchip, collar or tags.
The caller who issued the tip said he had seen the dog at an address on Suncoast Dr., and had seen a man on that street choking a dog in the past two months. A neighbor advised the officer that the dog may belong to a man who lived down the road.
On March 26th, the officer arrived at the location where the dead dog had been found and located several bone fragments that appeared to have come from a large animal. Neighbors said the area is known for being an animal carcass dumping ground.
On March 28th, a tip came in providing information that showed Smith was a possible suspect and that he lived on Ebson Dr. A search of LCSO's database showed him living at that address as well. He had three dogs linked to him. Upon arrival at his residence on March 31st, the officer found two, thin, pit bull mixes loose on the property. There was food on the porch, but no water. A makeshift kennel was found on the property with several water bowls full of filthy water and "a large amount of excrement," the report said. The home appeared to be vacant.
Deputies and witnesses responded to the property, which was then posted as abandoned.
When Smith was finally located during the traffic stop yesterday, he was arrested. He remains in custody at the Lee County Jail with a bond set at $150,000.