Abused puppy returned to owner, community calls for stiffer penalties

The man was caught on cam abusing the puppy, and now the community is reacting after learning the puppy was returned to the man

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Outrage has spread through the First Coast Tuesday after video of a 20-year-old man striking and choking a puppy was posted to Facebook.

Court documents identified the man as Matthew Tanner Long who was cited for animal cruelty and fined $505.

The "slap on the wrist" as some called it, left several neighbors upset.

"It upset us to see the video," said Mary Ann Jacob with Pet Rescue North.

Jacob posted the video on the advocacy groups Facebook page back in March. The case returned to the spotlight in June after word of the ruling in the case spread.

Jacob told First Coast News a neighbor of Long captured the video through a hole in a fence. The neighbor asked not to be identified.

The video shows Long aggressively wiping the bottom of the black and white beagle-hound mix puppy. The puppy yelps and squeals. Then, Long slaps the puppy in the face. The pooch runs a few feet away, keeping an eye on Long who then picks the puppy up by the collar, chokes it, and holds the puppy down while spraying it with water from a nearby hose. Long can then be seen choking the puppy again before taking the frightening puppy into the house.

The video was used as evidence in court.

"Jacksonville Animal Care and Services did step in and take, Fiona, that's the name of the puppy, from him and their was a hearing, but he managed to get her back," Jacob said.

We reached out to Judge Gary Flower's office for comment. We did not hear back before this article was published. 

Jacob claims the court gave Fiona back to Long under the condition he take anger-management classes and pay a fine of $1,015.

We went by Long's home. A man answered the door who claimed to be Long's roommate.The barks of what sounded like several dogs inside the home drowned out the man's voice.He said Long was not home and he didn't know anything about the case.

Jacob says she fears the puppy is in danger and wants it removed from Long's care.

"We've seen abuse and neglect," Jacob said. "If you go on our Facebook, we've had dogs neglected almost to the point of death. If people don't report it and it just continues on and on and if a person gets away with it once they are going to keep doing it."

We've reached out to Long's attorney for comment. We have not heard back.
       
Pet Rescue North is now encouraging Floridians to sign a petition that pushes for harsher punishment and penalties for animal abuse cases.

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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