A reward for information leading to the arrest of an animal abuser has increased to nearly $17,000. Since his mouth was taped shut and he suffered several injuries, Chance has been adopted.
But some animals are not so lucky. Lee County Sheriff’s Office is cracking down on anyone who abuses an animal.
Meanwhile, the newest LCSO member, Chance, is settling in nicely to his new home.
“He’s part of the family,” said Sheriff Carmine Marceno, of Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
“K9s are in my blood, dogs are in my blood,” said Deputy Richard Castellon, who is adopting Chance. “Even when I saw the story myself, you know, it was horrific.”
The 1-year-old pup will stay with Castellon and begin new, official duties at the sheriff’s office.
“Animals, they’re innocent,” Castellon said. “We can’t allow; we can’t sit back and let anyone abuse an animal.”
Partly because of his experience with Chance, Marceno told WINK News he is looking at ways to crack down on people who hurt animals.
“We want to start thinking about what we can do to stiffen the penalties,” Marceno said.
Right now, the county ordinance said a third offense animal cruelty fine is just $500.
“It seems like a very light penalty,” said Karen Fordiani, who works at Lee County Domestic Animal Services. “We understand that, but our hands are tied because that’s the way the ordinance is written.”
Fordiani said it is getting animals who have been abused or neglected almost deadly.
“It’s very frustrating,” Fordiani said. “We’ll see the same animals impounded and then sometimes the second or third time. We see them hit by a car.”
The sheriff’s office hopes to create a database to track repeat offenders.
“So they go on a list and we can track them and see is this someone that’s a repeat offending, is it a first-time offense?” Marceno said. “For me, one offense is too many.”
Marceno’s message is clear.
“I am not going to tolerate it,” Marceno said. “It’s not happening in this county.”