The dog’s owner may have meant well, but authorities say he may have broken the law

The dog’s owner may have meant well, but authorities say he may have broken the law

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – A Jacksonville man is facing a misdemeanor animal abandonment charge after doing what seemed like the right thing to do but was still considered illegal.

News4JAX does not name the man because his alleged crime is only a misdemeanor and based on the facts of the case, it does not appear that he had any intentions of harming his three dogs. In addition, the man turned himself in to authorities after an arrest warrant was issued for him.

According to the arrest report, a representative from Clay Safe Animal Shelter called authorities when three abandoned dogs were found outside the shelter’s entrance at 6:30 am. The report indicates that there were three dogs in three separate cages with a handwritten note. The note listed the names of each dog and an apology for leaving the dogs there. The note also said that the owner was moving and could not take the dogs.

According to investigators, Clay Safe Animal Shelter does not accept animals left on the premises outside of business hours.

One of the dogs was identified as a mongrel in distress and was taken to a local vet’s office for treatment, but died on the way to the office. One of the other dogs started having a seizure but recovered. The report also indicates that the third dog suffered from significant hair loss due to a skin problem. According to the report, all three dogs were dirty and covered in fleas.

Clay County Animal Services took the remaining two dogs and determined that the dog that had a seizure suffered from epilepsy and hemorrhage in one of his eyes. The other dog with generalized hair loss was diagnosed with mange.

According to the arrest report, a Clay County Sheriff’s deputy took fingerprints from the letter and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was able to match those fingerprints to the suspect whose fingerprints were already on file.

When authorities located the man, he allegedly admitted to leaving the dogs at the shelter’s entrance with a note explaining why he could no longer keep the animals. The arrest report also states that the man told investigators that he could no longer keep the animals because they were aggressive toward his family. In addition to that statement, the man also said that he had previously tried to get the dogs to be taken by Clay County Animal Services, but was denied because the shelter was at full capacity. The report indicates that the man later told investigators that he knew it was wrong to leave the animals at the entrance of the Clay Safe Animal Shelter, but he believed the organization would take care of the dogs.

Florida Statute 828.13(3) says that anyone who owns, possesses, or has custody of an animal is breaking the law if they abandon the animal and it becomes malnourished or injured. The statute also says that a person is in violation if they abandon their animal on a street or public place without providing care, protection and sustenance for the animal.

Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) spokeswoman Lindsay Layendecker said her organization offers multiple options for pet owners looking to relinquish a pet without getting into legal trouble.

“We are going to meet people where they are. We will give you a list of resources. If we can’t help you personally at JHS, we may refer you to another organization that you didn’t know about that can help you,” Layendecker said.

Layendecker said it’s common for some pet owners to feel embarrassed or embarrassed about not being able to provide the care their pet needs, but she also wanted to reiterate that there are options available to help.

“Help is available. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Please don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. We know you want to do the right thing for your pet, but the longer you wait, the worse it can get,” Layendecker said.

Layendecker also encourages those who can help a fellow pet owner who obviously needs help to feel free to offer whatever help they can, which can help keep pets from suffering.

JHS also said another good option to consider is contacting family or friends to see if they can take your pet, especially if shelters are full.

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