Shocking pictures of the tan-coloured dog with the red duct tape wrapped around its face were released by police chiefs as they launched a manhunt for the animal cruelty culprit. The dehydrated dog was found roaming gardens panting and drooling as well as bleeding from wounds to its leg and chest. Animal lovers are now commending Sheriff Carmine Marceno for a zero tolerance pledge towards animal cruelty on his watch.
Sheriff Marceno’s law enforcement department released photographs of the pitiful dog after it had been rescued roaming gardens in suburban Lee County on Florida’s Gulf Coast along with the following bulletin: “The dog, a male Florida Cur, was found roaming through backyards.
"Its mouth had been taped shut using red electrical tape and it was panting, drooling and reportedly suffocating.
"The dog was dehydrated, appeared malnourished and was bleeding from wounds on his left arm and chest.”
While the dog was sent to a vet to recover, the sheriff’s office appealed for help with identifying the dog and tracing its owner.
Dog left suffocating after muzzle taped (Image: Lee County Sheriff's Office)
Later Sheriff Marceno came out with a tough response to animal cruelty in his county, making a strongly-worded video statement.
Showing his dedication to animals by being stroking a dog and letting it lick his face – not the dog at the centre of the investigation – Sheriff Marceno explained how the injured pet had been abused.
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He then warned: “I can tell you right now as your sheriff I will not tolerate this in any shape or form.
“No person is going to abuse an animal in this country. I am crystal clear on that.
Terrified dog was left drooling and dehydrated after being duct taped (Image: Lee County Sheriff's Department )
“I am a dog lover and an animal lover. If you duct tape a dog’s mouth shut, to me, there is only one place for you – behind bars.”
He then goes on to explain how animal cruelty can lead to horrific crimes aimed at people.
Sheriff Marceno said: “Let me tell you this: It starts this way. This is a stepping stone. A person that’s able to do this to an animal later could possibly do this to a human being.”
Muzzling dogs with heavy duty tape to stop them barking has become a sickening animal cruelty trend in the United States.
No nonsense Sheriff Carmine Marceno with dog (Image: Lee County Sheriff's Department )
Dog was left drooling and panting after being taped up (Image: Lee County Sheriff's Office)
The case of a terrier called Caitlyn went viral when she lost part of her tongue after being sickeningly abused three years ago in Charleston, South Carolina.
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Sheriff Marceno’s no nonsense view on animal cruelty is gaining widespread applause with animal champions. His department’s Facebook page has received overwhelming support with scores of approving comments.
One supporter said: "You have set a positive tone, Sheriff. Keep up the good work. I am so glad you protect animals, too.”
Another added: "Thank you Sheriff Marceno! There needs to be more like you out there. Animal abuse is not tolerated.”
While a third went on to exclaim: “YES YES YES!!!! People that abuse animals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent! Thank you for understanding that animal abuse is a crime!”