Two puppies injured in an alleged abuse incident Sunday night in Cape Coral that resulted in an arrest are recovering, according to county officials.
Following the incident, Lee County Animal Services took custody of the puppies - one male, one female - and they remained in the department's custody Tuesday. Just under 8 weeks of age, both puppies are pit bulls.
"The puppies are here presently," Ria Brown, a spokeswoman for Lee County Animal Services, said. "They are doing well. They're on antibiotics."
The next stop for the puppies will be a foster home.
"It will probably be at least four weeks before they are up for adoption," she said.
At about 10:50 p.m. Sunday, Cape police received a report about a man dragging and kicking two dogs as he walked along the 1200 block of Cape Coral Parkway East.
The caller stated that one of the dogs may be dead.
Officers arrived and made contact with Pedro Emmanuel Moreta, 52, of 4322 Palm Tree Blvd., who had two puppies on a single leash. Both of the puppies were shaking and crying, while one was cowering under Moreta, officials said.
Police observed that the tan female, Bella, was "bleeding excessively" from her paws and rear legs, and the black male, Blaca, had difficulty standing.
Moreta told officers that he was walking the puppies, which he was caring for, from a residence in the 1500 block of Lafayette Street. According to a report, Moreta said the puppies would not walk so he "pulled them along."
He denied kicking the puppies nor knowing that Bella was bleeding.
When an officer pointed to two puddles of blood left on the concrete from Bella, Moreta reportedly laughed and stated, "Well, she is a female."
Lee County Animal Services was called to the scene. Officers determined that the puppies were being abused and Bella was "in danger of dying."
Moreta was cited by Animal Services with animal cruelty citations. He reportedly laughed and signed the citations, stating, "All this for a dog."
Officials determined that Bella had most of her front paw pads torn off, along with severe scrapes and possible chemical burns to her rear legs. Her rear paw pads were also torn apart, along with the front of her rear legs.
She sustained scraps and cuts to her stomach.
According to the report, Blaca walked over to Bella at one point during the police investigation and laid on top of her to shield her from Moreta.
Moreta was arrested and charged with conservation animals cause cruel death pain and suffering. He was transported to the Lee County Jail.
Moreta reportedly continued to joke about the incident, allegedly stating at one point, "Who gives a (expletive) about some God(expletive) dogs."
As of Tuesday, he remained in jail on $100,000 bond.
Moreta has a court date set for May 6.