A heartless fiend is facing felony charges after getting nabbed on surveillance video dumping a helpless pup into a garbage dumpster, police in Florida said Monday.
Anthony Bellman, 55, pulled up behind a Family Dollar store in Lehigh Acres near Cape Coral on Thursday and took the 16-year-old Shih Tzu pooch named Xyla out of his car in a trash bag.
He then tossed the bag several feet through the air and into the dumpster before driving off, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said at a press briefing Monday.
“This sickens me as you watch this,” the visibly angry sheriff told reporters. “You can see in this video that he has absolutely zero regard for Xyla.
“No living thing deserves to be discarded like common trash,” he said. “The suspect [was] literally throwing a life away. This video is disgusting.”
Marceno said Bellman told his family he was taking Xyla to the local humane society but instead threw the pooch away.
The sheriff’s office traced Bellman through a microchip implanted in the pup and deputies were at his door in Lehigh Acres — about 16 miles east of Fort Myers — within two hours of Xyla’s rescue.
The blue vehicle seen in the surveillance video was parked outside the home.
Bellman, who authorities said is the relative of Xyla’s original owners, even answered the door wearing the same clothes as in the video, Marceno told reporters.
He was charged with a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty and will have his name added to the county’s Animal Abuse Registry, the sheriff said.
He said Bellman, who allegedly had a prior drunk driving arrest in Ohio, was released on a bond.
Marceno said the arrest was made by the sheriff’s Animal Cruelty Task Force that he founded, and which has so far logged 15 felony animal cruelty arrests and thousands of abuse complaints.
Marceno said Xyla was treated by a vet and is now in good health and up for adoption.
“We bagged up this trash and gave him a ride to the Marceno Motel,” he added of Bellman — using his nickname for the Lee County Jail.
“You don’t get to abuse an animal in Lee County,” the sheriff added.