MOON LAKE, Fla. - As a dog owner and adopter, Lori King couldn't fathom the idea that someone could kill innocent puppies. And yet that's what happened to four tiny pit bulls, just a few weeks old.
King called the Pasco County sheriff's office after finding out that the dogs had been buried in a shallow grave along Catalona Avenue in Moon Lake Estates. Her boyfriend's son, Martin Smith, owned the dogs. Deputies said his friend, David Thompson, carried out the killings.
Investigators accused Thompson, 21, of beating the puppies with a shovel until they were dead.
Thompson was charged with animal cruelty and taken to the Land O' Lakes jail. Deputies said Smith helped bury the dogs, and admitted they were killed because he couldn't afford to keep them anymore.
"I asked them to dig them up and make sure they weren't still alive, I was so upset," said King. "I would have done anything. It did not have to happen. It's just terrible," she said.
Animals are a way of life for many residents in Moon Lake. Many wondered why the owner didn't contact somebody or some group for help.
"Plenty of shelters around here," said William Davidson, who owns multiple dogs and cats. "They even got the dog pound running around here once a day and picking up little stray dogs," Davidson said.
"I think it's disgusting," said Robyn Romero, who's family owns several animals. "How could you do that to an innocent little breathing creature? I just can't imagine," she said.
Deputies didn't charge Smith, even though he admitted to burying the dead dogs in the dirt. The state attorney's office will review the case and decide if additional charges should be filed.
Thompson was held on $5,000 bond.
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