Florida man accused of chopping head off dog he adopted one day earlier and dumping body in park

A Florida man was arrested for allegedly decapitating a pet dog named Dexter that he had adopted from an animal shelter just one day earlier.

Deputies began looking for Domingo Rodriguez on May 14, after they received reports of a dead dog wrapped in plastic at a park in Fort Desoto, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers called to the grisly scene found a bulldog mix dog that had its head chopped off and had been stuffed into a bag floating in a mangrove swamp in the park.

The dog was chipped, allowing Pinellas County Animal Services to identify it as being a 4-year-old animal that had been adopted by the suspect on May 10.

Mr. Rodriguez, 66, has now been charged with one count of criminal animal cruelty and one count of disposal of bodies of dead animals, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

The St Petersburg resident was booked into the Pinellas County jail following his arrest.

Domingo R Rodriquez has been charged with felony animal cruelty after allegedly decapitating and disposing of a 4-year-old dog, Dexter, in Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County, Florida (Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)

When first confronted by police about the incident, Mr Rodriguez allegedly said that the dog “must have run away overnight” on May 10.

Officials say that Mr. Rodriguez returned to speak to investigators on May 15 and “admitted to traveling to Fort Desoto Park on May 11, 2024, and provided deputies with several inconsistent statements.”

He was arrested after his visit on May 15 and has since been released on bond.

Pinellas County Animal Services said it was “shocked” by the discovery and implored the public to report any instances of animal abuse to the police.

“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,” the agency said in a statement on Facebook.

“Our jobs are full of wonderful rewards, especially when we receive updates showing our adoption dogs and cats resting easily in loving homes, but an event like this breaks our hearts,” the statement said.

They added: “The screening for Dexter found no issues that would indicate danger to his welfare. We encourage anyone who sees animal abuse happening in Pinellas County to report it by calling our offices at (727) 582-2600 and selecting Option 4.”