A man who seriously injured a dog after shooting it in the face has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, Florida authorities said.
The dog, Rocky, underwent surgery after being shot in the muzzle at a home in Palm Coast, about 65 miles southeast of Jacksonville, in April of last year. Rocky has since been adopted by an employee of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, the agency said in a news release Thursday.
The man, Jamier Lee-Bright, pleaded guilty to felony cruelty to animals and tampering with physical evidence. He was also sentenced to 42 months probation after his release.
Lee-Bright will also be placed on the animal abuse registry and is required to have no contact with any animals, complete a mental health assessment and turn in his firearm to the sheriff’s office.
«Justice for Rocky’s shooter has finally been served,» Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. «Lashing out your pet is never the right answer.»
Flagler County deputies were called to the home after residents reported hearing gunshots. A man at the house, Jamier Lee-Bright, initially denied hearing anything. But officers became suspicious after they noticed bloodstains on Lee-Bright’s face and saw a freshly dug hole in the corner of his backyard.
Lee-Bright allegedly told detectives who called the home for help that she woke up to a family member yelling that Rocky bit her, according to the news release. Lee-Bright said she grabbed a firearm, pulled the dog out and shot it once in the head, she says.
He then dragged the dog back inside, locked it in the kennel and tried to clean the blood from his yard, authorities said. The dog had been in the kennel for more than two hours before authorities arrived.
Rocky was found in the home in visible pain and taken to an animal hospital. The bullet passed through the muzzle and lower lip, neck and shoulder area, and through the left front leg, the sheriff’s office said. The dog had to receive staples in the muzzle, a drain in the neck, numerous stitches and a metal pin in the leg.
State Attorney RJ Larizza said in a news release Thursday that it was a miracle that Rocky survived.
The dog has since been adopted by Hayden Ore, a criminal analyst with the sheriff’s office, and his wife. The couple said the dog has shown no signs of aggression and is a wonderful addition to the family, according to the statement.
«Luckily, Rocky now lives happily with Analyst Ore and his wife and no longer has to live in fear,» Sheriff Staly said.