In a disturbing incident last week, a Shih Tzu was discovered in a dumpster at a Family Dollar store in Lehigh Acres, Florida, after store workers noticed movement inside a trash bag, as reported by authorities on Tuesday.
The incident occurred on December 14, and Lee County Sheriff’s Office labeled it as “heinous.”
Sheriff Carmine Marceno stated, “Stuffed inside the bag, employees found sweet Xyla, a 16-year-old Shih Tzu, with a rope around her neck. These heroic employees recognized this to be purposeful abuse and rushed Xyla to Blue Pearl Pet Hospital for evaluation.”
Upon receiving the report, the sheriff’s Animal Cruelty Task Force promptly intervened. Surveillance footage revealed a suspect driving up to the dumpster, removing a trash bag from the trunk of his vehicle, and tossing it into the dumpster from a distance.
Further investigation revealed that Xyla had a microchip, but her original owners were deceased. Detectives utilized advanced technology to trace the vehicle in the surveillance footage back to a residence.
At the residence, they encountered a man identified as Anthony Bellman, who was wearing clothing similar to the suspect seen in the footage. Bellman was taken in for questioning, and detectives found probable cause to charge him with one count of aggravated animal cruelty. He will also be placed on the animal abuse registry.
Sheriff Marceno stated, “Today, I’m proud to announce that justice was indeed served upon a selfish and cruel individual, who clearly has no regard for animals.”
Xyla, the victim of this “horrific incident,” is still in recovery, while authorities and animal services are diligently working to find her a loving home.
Sheriff Marceno emphasized the commitment of the community to be a voice for the innocent, pledging never to stop holding individuals accountable for such heinous actions in the county.