Nassau man arrested after officer finds puppies, emaciated dog

Michael Bennett, 18, charged with felony animal cruelty

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

BRYCEVILLE, Fla. - A man was arrested after a young, emaciated dog was found by an officer with Nassau County Animal Control.

Michael Bennett, 18, was charged with felony animal cruelty. Tuesday afternoon, animal control officers were called to Lee Lane after a complaint about Bennett's dog, Chevy, roaming the neighborhood.

Martin Pruitt, an officer with Nassau County Animal Control, found the dog and brought him back to the owner's home. When he got there, he discovered 1-year-old Sophie, an emaciated dog who recently gave birth.

Pruitt said he then realized Sophie's nine puppies were in a hot garage with no food.

"They were crying, wanting their mom," Pruitt said. "We called for backup to get some help out there."

Bennett told News4Jax over the phone that he left the dogs at the home after his electricity was cut off and said he was feeding the dogs. 

But according to his arrest report, Bennett had been written a citation in the past in reference to Sophie. He told investigators she lost weight after giving birth, but he'd never taken her to a veterinarian for treatment.

All 11 dogs were seized. Sophie was said to be in the worst condition.

"I hope people realize that animals are not just animals," Pruitt said. "They are part of your family and should be treated that way."

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