TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Missouri man was arrested after he allegedly bound a small dog’s mouth and legs with duct tape and tossed the animal from his vehicle. The dog remained in a ditch in freezing temperatures for 12 hours before being rescued by a deputy, authorities said.
Paul Garcia, 39, of Barnhart was charged with felony animal abuse and armed criminal action. Garcia was booked into the Jefferson County Jail and his bond was set at $50,000.
According to the sheriff’s office, a deputy found the black and brown dashund while on patrol Saturday morning. There was both electrical and duct tape around the dog’s mouth. It was cold, malnourished and may have suffered a concussion.
Investigators collected the tape and froze it to find fingerprints. The fingerprints on the tape matched Paul Garcia’s. Authorities said Garcia was not the dog’s owner.
The dog is still recovering at a local animal shelter, but was reunited with its owner, Katilyn Kofron, who lives seven doors down from Garcia.
“It was terrifying to see the way he was taped,” Kofron told Fox 2 Now. “At first I didn’t even know it was my dog.”
Kofron said the dog went missing after she let him outside without a leash.
“I felt hopeless, sorry, like it was my fault,” she said.