Bryan Leonard, a 25-year-old Palm Coast resident who’s been at the Flagler County jail on drug and probation-violation charges since May, was additionally charged with a felony count of cruelty to animals and a count of unlawfully disposing of carcass.
The Flagler County Sheriff added the charges on Wednesday (June 25), in a case that dates back to May, when a pit bull Leonard was in charge of was discovered dead, bloated and leashed on an island in the Intracoastal Waterway. The pit bull, called Roscoe, belonged to Marcus Good, a Palm Coast resident who’d been incarcerated at the county jail, and had placed Leonard in charge of the dog. The dog was scared of storms, and was apparently left leashed and alone during a violent storm, causing Roscoe to try to free himself, and choke to death instead.
A local resident who had been exploring the island, across from, Bings Landing in the Hammock, the morning of May 20 called 911 to report the find of the dead dog. The resident was concerned “that the dog had been abused and left there to die,” according to an incident report filed by the Sheriff’s Office.
“After landing on the island,” a deputy reported, “I observed what appeared to be a vacant camp site. As we traveled further up onto the island, we observed more abandon camp sites. [The witness] showed us the location of the dog which was located behind one of the camp sites. It appeared that the dog had been there for more than a day as it was already bloated. It was a brown in color bull dog. It appeared to have a choker chain around its neck and a leashed tied to it. The end of the leash was wrapped around some broken brush. It appears that the dog may have tried to get itself loose and strangled itself in the process but this is not
Animal Control Officer Scott Christopher was called in and interviewed Good, the owner of the dog, at the jail. (Good is facing charges of battery on a person older than 65, driving on a suspended license, marijuana possession and selling a prescription drug.) Good told Christopher that hye’d bought the pit bull for $600 from a kennel and had left the dog in “Bryan”‘s care, though he knew neither Leonard’s last name nor his address in Palm Coast.
As it turned out, a few days later, on May 29, Leonard, of 6 Prairie Lane in palm Coast, was himself jailed on charges of marijuana possession and probation violation. It was his fifth jail booking since 2012. (He’s faced charges of driving on a suspended license, drunk driving, probation violation, and battery domestic violence.)
Christopher and a deputy interviewed Leonard at the jail on June 3. Leonard said he’d been caring for the dog for approximately six months, and was responsible for it while Good was in jail. Leonard and some friends went camping on the island and tied the dog to a long leash with a choker chain collar. The first night, Leonard said–according to the incident report–a storm broke out and the dog got scared, so Leonard brought him into the tent until the storm passed. Over the following days of camping, Leonard said he left the dog on the island several times, tied up by it-self for hours at a time, as he and his friends went for food and beer.
On the last day, Leonard told the deputy and the animal control officer, he and his friends started packing up and made several trips, leaving the dog behind each time until the last trip, when they were planning on bringing him along. But when Leonard prepared to make that last trip, he said he started to storm again. He waited it out. Two hours later, when he went back to the island, Roscoe was dead.
Leonard, according to the incident report, “stated that it look like Roscoe twisted his choker collar tight around his neck and strangled himself. Bryan stated that he did the best he could to cover the dog up and was going to go back and bury him but never did. It should be noted that there did not appear to be any evidence that anyone tried to cover the dog up with anything. Bryan did state that he dragged the dead dog from where he had him tied up to the area next to the marsh where we found him. He stated that he did this to keep the dog out of the sun.”
Last Wednesday, based on the information obtained through the sheriff’s investigation, Christopher signed charges against Leonard for animal neglect because, the incident report states, “he knew the dog was scared of thunder storms and left him there alone with no shelter and improper disposal of animal carcass because he did not bury the dog, instead he just left it there.”
Under Florida law, “It is unlawful to dispose of the carcass of any domestic animal by dumping such carcass on any public road or right-of-way, or in any place where such carcass can be devoured by beast or bird.”