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Suspect Sought in Killing of Two Dogs

By Merissa Green
The Ledger

LAKE ALFRED -- Lake Alfred police are investigating who left two pit pulls to die at Lake Swoope Park and why they did it.

The pit bulls were discovered dead Friday morning by the city's parks and recreation employees while they were doing work around the lake, said Police Chief Art Bodenheimer.

The dogs were found in the water with two concrete blocks attached to a rope and tied around their necks.

Polk County Animal Control was called to the scene to remove the dogs, Bodenheimer said.

"I've seen a lot of things done to animals before, but that was probably the cruelest," he said.

Officials with the Polk County Sheriff's Office said there doesn't appear to be a connection with an animal cruelty case in Mulberry.

On Thursday, 139 dogs, mostly pit bulls, were found in dire condition at a Mulberry home. Hewitt Grant, 38, of 2335 Pump Road, was charged with one felony count of maintaining and owning equipment and dogs for baiting or fighting and 19 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

One of the dogs found dead in Lake Alfred had a collar but not a tag, Bodenheimer said. The color of the dogs could not be identified because the skin started to come apart, Bodenheimer said.

There were no witnesses to what had happened and residents from the surrounding community saw nothing, Bodenheimer said.

"It was just gruesome," he said. "If they wanted to get rid of the dogs, all they had to do was call the dog pound."

Anyone with information should call the Police Department at 863-291-5200.

Merissa Green can be reached at [email protected] or 863-401-6968.
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