A viral video of a Florida man abusing his dog led to a police investigation, which ultimately resulted in the dog’s removal from his custody.
On Sept. 27, Stacey Rybak was playing with her dog, Jaco, when an unfamiliar dog approached them. Rybak is a photographer who donates much of her time to taking photos of dogs who are struggling to find homes. Separated from them by a fence, the unknown dog attempted to reach the duo, jumping along the other side of the barrier.
According to an interview with Fox 19, Rybak was in the process of seeking out a second leash to wrangle the unaccompanied dog when a car pulled up. A man exited the vehicle and made his way over to the dog, which—as Rybak noted in a Facebook post—seemed reluctant to go with its owner. The man then began beating his dog, which prompted Rybak to pull out her phone.
She only captured the final moments of the incident, as the man leans down repeatedly to strike the cowering dog.
Rybak's viral Facebook video, and her subsequent call to Boynton Beach police, were instrumental in rescuing the dog from its abusive home.
Several neighbors recognized the owner from Rybak's video, which assisted investigators in tracking him down. A Facebook post from police Monday noted that the case had been turned over to the department's animal cruelty investigator, Liz Roehrich.
Roehrich quickly caught up to the owner, seizing custody of the abused dog for a veterinary examination. The department noted that "Adi, short for Addison, a two-year-old female Pit-Lab mix," was set to remain in police custody for the duration of the investigation.
"I will do my absolute best to pursue justice for this innocent animal," Roehrich said. "We will always investigate acts of animal abuse and neglect in the city."
The investigator also conducted a welfare check at the man's home, to "ensure the safety of his other animals." He owns two additional dogs, reportedly ages 11 and 13.
Following the investigation, Roehrich found that the man's other dogs appeared well taken care of. She found no cause to remove them. Adi, however, went into police custody. Roehrich noted that the owner expressed "extreme remorse" when confronted with his actions.
"Adi can now look forward to finding a forever home filled with love and gentle hands," Roehrich said.
Adi has since been adopted, according to a Facebook post from Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control. "We have a heartwarming update on Addison," the post reads. "This morning, we released her into the care of her previous foster dad (and now permanent dad) from years ago. It was a very exciting and emotional reunion for all involved! Addison will now be living a wonderful life surrounded by love. She will even be reunited with two of her puppies (now adults)! Thank you to everyone in the community to who stepped up to be her voice and to make sure this won't happen again. Special thanks to the Boynton Beach Police Department coming to her aide."
Photos accompanying the post show Adi joyfully greeting her new owner.
The criminal investigation is ongoing. We spoke with Rybak.
This story has been updated
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H/T Fox 19