A man who seriously injured a dog after shooting the animal in the face was sentenced to 18 months in prison, Florida authorities said.
The dog, Rocky, underwent surgery after he was shot in the snout 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 with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, the agency said in a news release Thursday.
The man, Jamier Lee-Bright, pled guilty to felony cruelty to animals and tampering with physical evidence. He was also sentenced to 42 months of probation following 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 evaluation and forfeit his firearm to the sheriff's office.
"Justice has finally been served to Rocky’s shooter," Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. "Lashing out against your pet is never the right answer."
Flagler County deputies were called to the home after residents reported hearing gunshots. A man at the home, Jamier Lee-Bright, initially denied hearing anything. But deputies became suspicious after they noticed smeared blood on Lee-Bright's face and saw a freshly dug hole in the corner of his backyard.
Lee-Bright allegedly told detectives called to the home for assistance that he woke up to a family member screaming that Rocky had bit her, the news release states. Lee-Bright said he grabbed a firearm, took the dog outside and shot the dog once in the head it says.
He then dragged the dog back inside, locked it in the kennel, and attempted to clean the blood from his patio, authorities said. The dog had been left in the kennel for over two hours before authorities arrived.
Rocky was found in the home in visible pain and taken to an animal hospital. The bullet went through his snout and bottom lip, into his neck and shoulder area, and through his left front leg, the sheriff's office said. The dog had to get staples in his snout, a drain in his neck, numerous stitches and a metal pin in his leg.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza said in a news release Thursday that it was a miracle Rocky survived.
The dog has since been adopted by Hayden Ore, a crime analyst in the sheriff’s office, and his wife. The couple said that the dog has shown no signs of aggression and is a wonderful addition to the family, according to the release.
"Thankfully Rocky is now living happily with Analyst Ore and his wife and no longer has to live in fear," Sheriff Staly said.