Christopher Byrd was arrested faces charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty after he left a Palm Bay, Fla., hotel with his family's pit bull, Pipsqueak, tethered to the car's trailer hitch.
(Photo: Palm Bay Police Department)
By Andrew Ford, Florida Today
PALM BAY, Fla. - A man was charged with animal cruelty after police said he dragged his pit bull behind his SUV on Wednesday morning.
He told police he forgot the dog was tethered to his trailer hitch.
"However it happened, whether it was intentional or not, it's just distressing that it happened," said Palm Bay Police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez.
Police say Christopher Byrd was leaving the Palm Bay Hotel with his children, his wife and Pipsqueak the pit bull. Byrd told police he put the handle of the dog's leash onto the ball of the trailer hitch so he could put his kids in the car. Martinez said he has five children, ages 1-9.
Once inside, he said he forgot about the dog and drove out of the parking lot. He turned right onto Palm Bay Road, merged into the left lane and accelerated to about 30 or 35 mph. Martinez said she was told the dog tried to run to keep up but couldn't and was dragged.
Byrd got about 650 yards down the road before he was flagged down. He stopped, retrieved the injured dog, put him in the back of the SUV and pulled into a nearby McDonald's. That's where police found him and Pipsqueak.
Pipsqueak appeared to be in good spirits, despite injured paws, according to Martinez. A police photo shows the dog in the trunk of an SUV, tail between his legs, surrounded by bloody paw prints.
"It's amazing the dog wasn't more seriously injured or even killed as a result of that," Martinez said.
Byrd was arrested and faces charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty, driving with a suspended license and an outstanding warrant from Pasco County for failure to pay child support, according to Martinez.