Man accused of cruelty to animal
A North Fort Myers man was arrested Wednesday on felony animal cruelty charges.
Lee County Animal Services officers discovered an extremely emaciated American bull dog at the home of Eugene Hoppe, 34, of 2234 Bahia Lane, following an anonymous tip.
The dog, named Lily, was infested with thousands of flees and was unable to walk without stumbling.
LCAS spokeswoman Ria Brown said Hoppe admitted that he was trying to starve the dog.
“He freely admitted he hadn’t taken the dog to the vet, ever,” she said. “He was waiting for the dog to die on its own. It’s a slow, horrible death.”
Hoppe was arrested and charged. He was released Thursday on bond.
LCAS investigators also found two other dogs on Hoppe’s property, officials reported. Both were found in various stages of neglect, but neither were in as bad a shape as Lily.
Brown said LCAS is working to rehabilitate Lily, but it will take some time. Following rehabilitation, the dog will probably find its way to a foster home before being put up for adoption.
Brown said this level of neglect is not only inexcusable, but pointless. LCAS offers a number of public assistance programs, including a pet pantry and free medical care.
“We have programs for people who can’t care for their pets. We have free food, supplies, vaccines, sterilizations,” she said. “But even if there weren’t any programs, it’s no excuse.”
Brown is asking people to report possible animal cruelty as soon as possible. The earlier an animal is helped, the better chances it will have to not only heal, but be adopted out to a good home.
She does not know if Lily will make a complete recovery, but she hopes so.
“She’s a wonderful dog. It’s a shame,” Brown said.