KILLINGLY, Conn. — A grizzly case of animal abuse involving a dog named Grizzly has a happy and just ending. The Rottweiler's previous owner, Luis Alberto Perez, has been sentenced to spend several months in jail.
Ten months ago, 35-year-old Perez walked out of court in Danielson a free man. But now, he will spend the next five months behind bars.
Perez was initially charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, but the prosecutor eventually upgraded the charge to a felony.
“Most cases are suspended sentences. They don’t serve anything. They took this seriously,” said Holly Fontaine, an animal law advocate for the group Desmond’s Army.
Perez beat his 1-year-old Rottweiler named Grizzly with an aluminum baseball bat and evidence showed it may not have been the first time.
“X-rays show a recent fracture to Grizzly’s elbow from a previous and untreated injury,” said an animal advocate from the UConn Law School.
The calculated brutal assault on Grizzly was all caught on Ring camera outside Perez’s Willimantic apartment. Perez grabbed the bat from his vehicle and chased Grizzly. The dog tried to escape but got cornered and cowered as Perez raised his bat and repeatedly swung at Grizzly.
“I’m relieved that it’s over and that he is suffering some real consequences for what he did,” said Jennifer Murray, who was the landlord. “The dog suffered for a very long time.”
Grizzly was also found living in filth. He was left alone for much of the day, in the dark, without meaningful access to food or water in and amongst his own feces.
But shortly after FOX61’s initial story aired, Grizzly’s fortunes turned around. He was renamed "Panzer". A social media post and picture of Panzer by Windham Animal Control labeled him "Goofy and affectionate." Panzer was adopted into a loving family.
Desmond’s Army Animal Law Advocates can be credited with giving a voice to voiceless victims like Panzer.
“I just wish the courts would take these cases a lot more seriously,” said Fontaine. The judge said aloud in court, “The facts are so sad and so disturbing.”
Before Perez was escorted to lockup by judicial Marshals, he apologized for what he claims was a difficult time in his life.
“I do apologize for what I did,” said Perez. “I had a lot of things going on. I just made a big mistake. I’m just ready to move on with my life.”
When Perez does get released in five months, he’ll then be on probation for three years during which time he will not be allowed to own or live with any animals. Perez was also ordered to pay the town of Windham $600, the money they spent getting Panzer ready for adoption.
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