Lakeland boy 17, accused of beating puppy to death

The 10-month-old, chihuahua-dachshund mix named Bruce underwent 1.5 hours of surgery, which included having its lung re-inflated.

Bruce, a 10-month-old, chihuahua-dachshund mix. Photo courtesy Brandy Siniad

A 17 year-old Lakeland boy is accused in the disturbing beating death of a puppy.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigators say the dog’s owner, Brandy Siniad, left her 10-month-old, chihuahua-dachshund mix named Bruce in the care of a neighbor on June 16. The neighbor let the dog outside and then heard the dog barking. The neighbor walked outside and saw two males running away from her backyard and the dog on the ground with injuries, according to an arrest affidavit.

The dog was taken to a veterinarian who performed surgery for its injuries. The dog suffered from three broken ribs and had two holes in its chest cavity and a collapsed lung, according to the affidavit. The dog underwent 1.5 hours of surgery, which included having its lung re-inflated. However, the dog later died from trauma due to surgery and injuries.

Detectives identified Cody Rutledge age 17, as the suspect after interviewing the neighbor and other people who live nearby. Investigators say he blamed other juveniles for the crimes, however they all had alibis. Detectives say Rutledge later confessed to harming the puppy but did not give a reason for beating the dog. They are still investigating whether anyone else was involved in the beating.

Rutledge was arrested and charged with 3rd degree felony animal cruelty and one count of giving false information to a law enforcement officer. He was taken to the Polk County Juvenile Assessment Center.

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