Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Injured Dog Getting a New Home; Previous Owner Faces Animal Cruelty Charge; Animal's Throat Was Slashed

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Injured Dog Getting a New Home; Previous Owner Faces Animal Cruelty Charge; Animal's Throat Was Slashed

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen

Her throat slashed and stab wounds in her side, Amber walked into Dan Sorrells' heart.

The 70-pound collie-Labrador mix was attacked Sunday night, and on Monday the veteran St. Johns County deputy followed a blood trail to find her.

When he spotted her, he called her name.

"She walked right over to me," he said. "She showed no aggression."

It was about 15 hours after witnesses watched Amber being stabbed and dragged into the dark in the northwest part of the county. Sorrells said she had a slash from one side of her neck to the other and stab wounds in her sides. There was dried blood on her fur and she was in distress.

She was taken to Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Jacksonville, where she was doing well Tuesday and will be recovering for another week. Sorrells said he plans to pay Amber's medical bills and take her home.

Her owner, Randal Bryen Hart, 28, has been charged with animal cruelty. At the scene Monday he relinquished ownership of the dog. He was in the St. Johns County jail Tuesday in lieu of $5,000 bail.

At the scene he told deputies Amber had to be "put down" for attacking a kitten.

Sorrells went to the mobile home in the 8400 block of North County Road 13 Monday morning after Hart's roommates, Adrian Bouchot, 52, and Clayton Roman, 47, told Sorrells and an animal control officer they saw the attack. One of the men who tried to help the wounded dog during the attack said he was told to "back off" and was afraid to intervene.

"They were under the assumption that the dog was already dead," Sorrells said. He said their description made that possibility believable.

"He called the dog over to him and stabbed it several times," they told Sorrells. "Then he cut its throat."

Bouchot and Roman told Sorrells it appeared as if Hart was trying to bury the dog after dragging it howling away but it was too dark to tell.

Bouchot said he and Hart had been to breakfast Sunday morning and all seemed normal. …

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