The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrested a husband and wife on animal cruelty charges after a complaint was filed that the suspect was beating a dog with a piece of lumber and then holding it down by its neck with the wood pushed against the animal’s throat.
Deputies say 32 year-old Jessie Eugene Morris was arrested along with 25 year-old Amber Leard-Morris at their Green Street Home.
Michelle Nicholson of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said the couple was taken into custody around 6:30 p.m. Friday evening. The badly injured dog is named Sheba.
Deputies say Morris told them he had given the animal to his father. Lawmen also said the female suspect told deputies the dog had run away three days earlier. Instead, said Nicholson, the suspects had hidden the injured dog from investigators.
Nicholson said deputies found the animal in a small bedroom closet with several heavy items piled in front of the door.
“The dog yelped and whined when the door was opened and had obvious injuries to its face, neck and foot,” said Nicholson. “Panhandle Animal Welfare Society staffers responded and took possession of the dog, which was unable to walk and had to be carried to the van. It was taken for immediate veterinary care.”
Investigators say they found a piece of lumber with blood and black hair in the front yard of the home. Jessie Morris allegedly told lawmen his wife put the dog in the closet to hide it and he planned to “get rid of it once the deputy left.”
The couple have been charged with felony animal cruelty, resisting a law enforcement officer without violence, providing a false statement and tampering with evidence.