In Lee County, Florida, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marcelo takes animal cruelty very seriously, writes ilovemydogsomuch.
“I’ve made it abundantly clear from the start. “If you abuse and neglect an animal in Lee County, it’s not if, it’s when,” he said in a statement. And Marcelo certainly kept his word after two dogs were discovered in need of assistance inside an SUV in an Estero Walmart parking lot.
Deputies responded to a report of a puppy in distress inside a car, hanging halfway out the window with his mouth taped shut. Deputies arrived to find the nine-week-old Pyrenees puppy with a training lead tightly wrapped around his snout and both dogs alone in the vehicle without food.
Jaelen Anthony Barge and Allison Marie Sweck, the dog’s owners, were quickly identified and arrested.
The South District Criminal Investigations Division and the Animal Cruelty Task Force were notified right away.
The investigation was taken over by detectives from our South District Criminal Investigations Division and the Animal Cruelty Task Force due to the nature of the crime. During the investigation, detectives discovered that the training lead used by the suspects should be used to provide gentle control to help keep a dog from pulling during walks, not as a muzzle.
“It disgusts me that an innocent puppy was left alone in a vehicle without food, water, or shelter,” Sheriff Marceno said. “In Lee County, this type of behavior will not be tolerated.” It’s hard to believe something so heinous could happen. I am proud to say that these heartless criminals are now behind bars, where they belong, thanks to the hard work of our detectives.”
Barge and Sweck were arrested and charged with one count each of Aggravated Anima Cruelty and Animal Cruelty at the Lee County Jail.
The puppy is now safe and sound in the care of Lee County Domestic Animal Services.
In the video below, Sheriff Marceno discusses the case and expresses his love for animals as well as his intolerance for animal abuse.