Police: Man skinned dogs, cats for their pelts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police checking out a report of animal pelts hung on the fence of a Brentwood home last week led to the arrest of a 43-year-old man on several animal cruelty charges.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, neighbors reported seeing Hozae Milton skinning a dog in his front yard on West 36th Street on Thursday before carrying it inside. Other reports said they hear Milton bringing a dog home in his shopping cart, and there were other reports of a healthy cat disappearing days before and sound of a barking dog behind Milton's home silenced while loud music was playing.

Officers serving a search warrant at the home found pelts of a dog and a cat hanging from a fence in front and paws that appeared to belong to the same dog in the side yard.

Inside the home, officers found animal tails. According to the arrest report, a rib cage and several plastic containers of meat were found in a freezer, along with an eyeball in a plastic bottle.

When told Milton that witnesses had seen him skinning a dog in his yard, he told officers it "must not have been me" and laughed, according to the report.  When told he was being arrested, Milton became highly aggressive and began to scream profanities and spit at the officers.

Milton was charged with killing a dog or cat with intent to sell or give away its pelt, possession of a dog or cat pelt with intent to sell or give away, cruelty to animals and illegal possession of a shopping cart.

Milton is being held in the Duval County jail on $60,009 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on December 10.

Channel 4's Adrienne Moore found Milton's father and brother was at the house cleaning up on Monday.  Ronnie Milton expressed disgust and disbelief after learning of the allegations against his brother.

"I was actually shocked. We knew that he had some issues and we tried to help him as much as possible," said Ronnie Milton. "I don't know what brought him to this point, but we've always loved animals."

Since his arrest, his family has focused their efforts on cleaning out the cluttered mess around his home, and said they will continue to support Milton, to get him the help he needs.

"If we had been more involved, and looking around, we would have been able to see this before it got too gone," said Roy Milton, father of the accused.

If convicted on all charges, Hozae Milton could face a $10,000 fine and up to six years behind bars.

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