ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A video of dogs being kept in a Florida backyard has gone viral and set off angry animal activists around the country.
Tyler Little posted multiple videos of his neighbor’s backyard in St. Petersburg, saying pit bulls were being mistreated.
He claimed he watched his neighbor’s dogs get tortured with water and firecrackers.
“The dogs are constantly crying. They’re constantly barking,” said Little. “They need to be out of those cages. They’ve never been on the ground. They’ve been in the chicken coops their whole lives.”
The owner said the dogs are fine and there is no illegal activity. Animal services also said the dogs are in good health and that nothing illegal was being done.
“They’re not chicken coops. They are wooden dog kennels,” said Doug Brightwell, director of Pinellas County Animal Services.
However, animal activists from around the country, including PETA, are now concerned.
“We have them on video waterboarding the dogs, and police said that’s not enough evidence to consider that animal abuse,” said Little.
Brightwell said the dogs are not being abused.
“In a couple of the videos, one of them specifically shows a young boy with a water hose several feet from the cage and hosing the dog as well,” said Brightwell. “We don’t personally or professionally agree with that, but it does not violate any of the current statutes or ordinances.”
He said Animal Services officials have been to the house five times, along with St. Petersburg police detectives.
He said they began their investigation in March when they received reports of pit bull fights and animal hoarding. Animal Services didn’t find any of that, but they did find three dogs tethered, which is now illegal.
Animal services said the owner was compliant and immediately corrected the issue.
Animal Services and St. Pete police most recently visited Monday and found four adult dogs and one liter of puppies with clean water and food.
“We took all the dogs out of the cages, examined them. All the dogs are in good body condition and appear to be in good health,” said Brightwell, adding that all the dogs are vaccinated and licensed.
The dog owners, who are not identified because no charges have been filed, maintain they’ve done nothing wrong.
The owner said he’s received death threats from around the country, with people even threatening to torture his children and mother.
Neighbor Jenniffer Sunday said she also saw the video. “I wouldn’t give them a death threat, but I don’t have empathy for them,” she said.