OKEECHOBEE -- Sheriff Noel Stephen and the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office members have and will continue to take all claims of animal abuse very seriously and will fully seek prosecution of the law. We believe there are no more in-need victims than those who cannot speak for themselves.
Allegations were made on a social media platform that we did not perform these duties and want to address the reported animal abuse/neglect. The allegations (summarized) are that an abandoned dog was found at the property with no food, no water, neglect, infection, housed in a small crate, signs of physical abuse and required surgery.
A local vet looked over the canine, and per their report (paraphrasing), it shows no signs of abuse, and the canine is healthy except for the "cherry eye." The "cherry eye" infection is a prolapsed third eyelid, a common infection in some breeds of canine that affects their tear gland. The earlier surgery report is false, and the canine has had no procedures other than a check-up.
The home is not abandoned nor boarded up. We provided a picture of the property today as it sits. There are two homemade hurricane shutters in the frames of two windows, one on the front and one on the back of the home. The power is off, but the water is on (see picture).
The kennel (not a crate) is roughly 6 feet X 10 feet and has a covering over the top and one side to shield sunlight. Water was present in a red bucket inside the kennel when the deputy took pictures.
The water and fresh feces inside the kennel also support the owner's claim and the Veterinarians' conclusion of no abuse that the animal was being fed and watered regularly.
We are thankful there are persons within our community who will "see something and say something." This type of support greatly assists our mission to provide our community with the best law enforcement services. However, we ask that time be allowed for investigations before conclusions are made.
In this case, there is no evidence of abuse, and no charges will be brought against the owner.