A 36-year-old Florida man was arrested last Thursday on a felony animal abuse charge stemming from a case in 2020.
Keith Evancik Laheyof of Naples, was arrested on a CCSO warrant charging him with aggravated animal cruelty after his pet dog was found in such an extreme state of neglect that it had to be euthanized.
“Animal cruelty can never be justified,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “In Collier County, if you abuse an animal you are absolutely going to jail.”
On Nov. 19, 2020, deputies were dispatched to Lahey’s then-residence in Naples Park in response to a report of animal abuse. When deputies arrived, Lahey led them to his garage where deputies observed a small dog in a cage under a boat.
The dog, a 17-year-old Shih Tzu named Duncan, was covered in dirt, feces, and urine. The animal’s fur was matted, and it appeared to be in distress. A bone was showing in one of the dog’s front legs. The animal had difficulty breathing and was unable to walk due to damage to its front paws.
A Collier County Domestic Animal Services officer also responded to the scene and confirmed Duncan appeared neglected, malnourished, underweight, and its skin was decaying due to a lack of care.
Lahey told deputies Duncan lived in the cage in the garage, and seemed unconcerned about the dog’s condition, which he attributed to old age.
A veterinarian who examined Duncan later that day was unable to perform the exam without anesthesia due to Duncan’s severe condition. In his assessment, the veterinarian described Duncan as emaciated, who weighed 5 pounds, and was covered in open sores and ulcers.
He also said Duncan suffered from possible blood poisoning, gave off a foul odor, and was neglected “to the extreme.”
Duncan was euthanized based on the veterinarian’s recommendation.
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