Dog Owner Charged After Decapitated Bulldog Mix Found in Florida Park

A Florida man is facing charges after the decapitated remains of his bulldog mix named Dexter were found at a local park just days after he adopted the dog, according to the local sheriff’s office.

Dexter’s owner, Domingo R. Rodriguez, was arrested shortly after the dog was found deceased last week at a Pinellas County park, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) said in a statement.

Rodriguez, 66, of St. Petersburg, is charged with one count of animal cruelty, a third-degree felony, and one count of disposal of a dead animal, a second-degree misdemeanor. He was released from the Pinellas County Jail on a $5,000 bond on May 15.

Rodriguez, identified as Dexter’s owner through the dog’s microchip, adopted the 4-year-old bulldog mix from Pinellas County Animal Services on May 10, PCSO said.

Newsweek reached out via email and social media on Sunday to Rodriguez’s attorney, Pinellas County Animal Services and PCSO for comment and an update on the case.

Dexter, a male bulldog mix, was found decapitated at a Florida park on May 14. The dog’s owner, 66-year-old Domingo R. Rodriguez, is facing charges, according to the local sheriff’s office.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
On May 14 around 6:45 p.m., PCSO deputies responded to reports of a “deceased dog wrapped in a plastic bag” near the area of East Beach at Fort De Soto Park, the sheriff’s office said.

“When deputies arrived, they located a male bulldog mix with its head decapitated, floating in the mangroves,” PCSO said.

Deputies spoke with Rodriguez at his home, where he admitted that he had recently adopted Dexter. He told investigators that “Dexter must have run away overnight on May 10,” the sheriff’s office said.

Rodriguez admitted that he traveled to Fort Desoto Park on May 11 and “provided deputies with several inconsistent statements,” PCSO said.

Video footage allegedly shows Rodriguez in Fort De Soto driving his gray pickup truck with a large cooler in the bed on the morning of May 11, according to local station WTVT citing his arrest report.

Rodriguez’s wife told investigators that Dexter was alive before she went to bed on May 10, but said that when she woke up the next morning, her husband and the dog were gone, according to the arrest report.

The sheriff’s office did not provide a motive for Dexter’s slaying or additional details about the incident.

The investigation is ongoing, the sheriff’s office said.

Pinellas County Animal Services responded to the news of Dexter’s death in a post on Facebook.

“Dogs like Dexter who arrive as strays, many injured and scarred, are the reason animal welfare workers and volunteers get up every morning to do what we do,” Pinellas County Animal Services wrote. “Our jobs are full of wonderful rewards, especially when we receive updates showing our adoption dogs and cats resting easy in loving homes, but an event like this breaks our hearts. We are grieving for Dexter and we thank our community and our advocates for their condolences and words of support during this time. With your continued support, the healing can begin.”

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