BREVARD COUNTY — On Aug. 4, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey went “live” on Facebook from the Animal Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Rockledge to raise awareness about a case of animal cruelty that resulted in the death of a dog.
“Star” was believed to be a “bait” dog found in a carport at Ormond Avenue on Merritt Island. He had previous bites across his body, and due to significant life threatening injuries, succumbed to cardiac arrest later that night.
A bait dog, Sheriff Ivey explained in the video, is usually a weaker or non-aggressive dog that is chained up and used to strengthen a fighting dog.
Together, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Pet Posse, Canaveral Port Commissioner Robyn Hattaway, the Titusville SPCA and Jack’s Wrecker of Melbourne have gathered a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) in this case.
“When I walked into that surgery room, I had to walk out,” Sheriff Ivey told Hometown News. “I was gut-sick. It made tears swell up in my eyes to see a poor little creature like that where somebody not only abused it but used it to further a horrific crime of dog fighting.”
In other examples of rescued bait dogs, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Pet Posse makes sure they are nursed back to health while evaluating their behavior to see if adoption is a viable option.
If a dog is not quite ready for adoption, Sheriff Ivey said, they will be placed in the BCSO’s Paws and Stripes program to help with obedience and socializing skills.
The BCSO animal services includes the animal care center, animal enforcement, veterinary medicine and licensing.
“A couple years ago we rescued quite a few dogs that we knew were bait dogs and we found a location they were being chained at,” Sheriff Ivey said. “We’ve always tried to keep a focus on it. It’s limited to a couple of areas, one was out west of I-95 off of [S.R.] 520 and another one off of Easy Street.”
Anyone who has information is asked to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477). All calls to Crimeline are anonymous.