MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - A Manatee County man is accused of killing a dog using an electrical cord and injuring a child.
Deputies say on Wednesday, 38-year-old Robert Edwards was annoyed that the dog was barking, so he took an electrical cord and wrapped it around the dog’s neck until it died.
Midnight was an emotional support dog for Richard Hunt, Ian Hunt’s father who is a disabled veteran. Richard says the incident happened at his son’s home in Myakka City where his son had been taking care of Midnight at the time.
Richard says Ian called him early Wednesday morning and was screaming.
“My son said, ‘He’s killing my dog, he’s killing my dog, he’s hanging my dog, please come now,’" Richard explained. "So I went now.”
But when he got to the home in Myakka City, Richard said it was too late.
“Right as I’m pulling in, they found the body. One of the police officers was up in the boat and found her body up in the boat," he said.
In their investigation, deputies learned that after Edwards allegedly killed the dog, he went inside and woke up a family member, telling the child to help him hide the dog’s body. When the child saw the dog’s body, the child refused to help Edwards, which is when deputies say Edwards punched the child on the right side of the face.
“He’s trying to get a child to try to go along with his plan of covering up with what he just did. Anger’s involved here and he channels that rage,” said Randy Warren, a spokesman with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
It was enough rage to get into a fistfight with Ian Hunt, too. Hearing the commotion, Richard said Ian went downstairs. When he learned the dog had been killed, he argued with Edwards, who deputies say then punched Ian multiple times in the face, causing bruising.
“We take this very seriously. This is just horrible. There’s no reason ever to harm an animal or harm a child," said Warren. "You know, and it the unfortunate part of it is that it doesn’t change what happened here for this family.”
When deputies arrived, Edwards was arrested at the scene.
Edwards is charged with animal cruelty, child abuse, battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
He’s currently being held in the Manatee County Jail.