VENICE, Fla. — A Venice man has been arrested after he reportedly used a tile scraper to kill an 8-pound chihuahua during a domestic dispute.
On Saturday, April 6, 2019, deputies in Sarasota County responded to a Venice residence at approximately 7 p.m. for a reported domestic dispute.
Aaron Merwine, 26, was attempting to kill the small dog named "Lucky" with a tile scraper before also threatening to kill a female inside of the home, according to deputies.
Merwine reportedly stabbed the small chihuahua approximately five times near its neck and head until the dog eventually died. Animal Services Officers responded and took custody of the dog for a necropsy, which will determine the exact cause of death.
T.J. Connors took care of the dog after adopting him from Merwine's family.
"To hear the news that he did this to Lucky, I still don’t believe it, still hasn’t hit me yet. I’m still in disbelief," Connors said.
Connors said Merwine's mother and father would watch the dog on a frequent basis.
"They have regular visitation with the dogs, every couple of weeks, they would go stay with the family, a couple days at a time. They were very much involved in the dog's life," Connors said.
Connors said his family is heartbroken and he also feels sorry for Merwine's family.
"We're all heartbroken. Everyone from my grandmother, my sister, my mom, my dad. We’ve had such an outpouring of support from the community," Connors said.
Court records stated based on testimony from Merwine's relatives at first appearance, Merwine's behavior at first appearances, and the allegations in the probable cause affidavit, it appears he suffers from an untreated mental illness that hinders his competency to proceed.
Merwine was arrested and charged with five counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and one count of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. He was booked into the Sarasota County Jail and is being held on $120,000 bond.