50-year-old accused of crushing dog's skull

Pit bull mix recovering at Jacksonville Humane Society

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An investigation into the "vicious assault" on a pit bull mix earlier this month has led to the arrest of a 50-year-old Jacksonville man on a charge of intentional animal cruelty.

Richard Poehler (pictured below) was arrested Tuesday night. Jail records show he is being held on over $100,000 bond.

The Jacksonville Humane Society is expecting a full recovery for the pit bull that had been beaten and left in a stranger's yard.

A person found the dog on Oct. 5 and called Animal Care and Protective Services, which took the dog to the animal hospital at the Jacksonville Humane Society for treatment.

Veterinarians found metal fragments in Flo's skull and mouth, where her teeth had been knocked out.

"We were appalled when Flo came to us a few weeks ago with a gaping wound that appeared to be made by a hammer or other blunt object," said Denise Deisler, JHS executive director. "We found metal fragments in her head, and Flo had missing teeth and evidence of past abuse. It is unfathomable that a person could inflict such horrific pain and suffering on an innocent creature like Flo."

Veterinarians say the dog is recovering after surgery.

A couple who claims to own the dog called police after seeing the initial report about the injured dog on television.

Melissa Floyd and John Lindsay said Poehler claimed the dog, whose name is Lizzy Borden, had eaten his bird, and had threatened to shoot it.

A witness told investigators she had seen Poehler violently beat the dog with a metal pole or pipe, choke the dog, then thrown it off a bridge near Lenox Avenue.  The witness said she feared for her life because Poehler is violent and had beaten her in the past.

According to the arrest report, when Poehler was questioned, he admitted to wanting to get rid of the dog because it has eaten his bird, telling Floyd "she would never see the dog again."  

Poehler told investigators he took the dog on a leash, then intentionally released it in the 1500 block of Hammond Boulevard, where it was struck by a Ford pickup truck.  He said he left the dog and walked back home.

Poehler was arrested and booked into the Duval County jail.

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