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CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Dog beaten with baseball bat and found living in filth; suspect walks free

35-year-old Luis Alberto Perez was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and breach of peace

WINDHAM, Conn. — The suspect of a brutal and unprovoked beating of a dog in Willimantic faced a judge on Tuesday and walked away a free man. The incident was all caught on video. Animal advocates who sat in on the proceeding were outraged at the outcome.

The suspect is Luis Alberto Perez, 35, and he is charged with cruelty to animals and breach of peace.

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Perez is accused of beating his 1-year-old Rottweiler named Grizzly with a baseball bat outside his Jackson Street apartment in Willimantic on July 18, 2021. The video is too graphic to show in its entirety.

Holly Fontaine is an animal advocate for Desmond’s Army and said the incident was a “vicious torturous attack on that poor innocent dog,”

Perez can be seen allegedly grabbing a baseball bat from the back of his car and swinging at Grizzly, chasing the dog until he cowers and is cornered by a line of bushes. Raising his bat, Perez allegedly strikes Grizzly four times.

“When you see that video and you realize that Perez was charged with a misdemeanor is outrageous to me,” said Jennifer Murray.

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Murray was Perez’s landlord. She tried to get him evicted but said the state’s COVID moratorium on evictions left her powerless. Pictures obtained by FOX61 also allegedly show the conditions Grizzly was living in.

“It was devastating. Not only did he abuse and neglect the dog and didn’t take the dog to the bathroom but he didn’t pay rent for six months and the apartment was trash,” described Murray.

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FOX61 also obtained a police affidavit that describes a subsequent search of the apartment by Windham Animal Control who found the dog in a caged area, “growling and fearful” and noted an “overwhelming odor of urine and feces”.

Back in court, Perez waived his ownership of Grizzly. Now, an attempt will be made to rehabilitate the dog, who survived the attack.

"At the end of the day, the dog is safe now and he finally signed him over today so that’s definitely a small victory," said Murray.

And the animal advocates of Desmond’s Army said it was a hollow one. They are advocating for stronger animal abuse penalties.

“Suspended sentences, one after another. How is anybody going to learn? They go right back out and commit the same crimes,” said Holly Fontaine.

Perez left the courthouse before we had a chance to try and speak with him but he will be back in court on May 10. According to police, when questioned about the incident Perez said Grizzly broke his television.

If Grizzly cannot be rehabilitated and rehomed, he may have to be euthanized.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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