LEESBURG, Fla. – A man has been arrested on animal cruelty charges after his dog drowned to death while wearing a 13-pound weighted belt, according to the Leesburg Police Department.
Police said they were called to Ball Park Road Sunday evening after a witness advised that she had seen a man playing fetch with a dog wearing a weighted belt that was jumping off the boat ramp into the water.
The witness said she heard the dog yelping and thought it was drowning in the water, the report said. The dog's owner and other bystanders jumped into the water to help the dog, but after a few minutes the owner got out of the water without the dog and left, according to the affidavit.
The woman confronted the owner, 44-year-old Dennys Jose Luque, and asked him why the dog had a weighted belt on, to which he replied, "These things happen," the report said.
Police said they found the dog's body approximately two hours later in an area about 20 feet in front of the end of the boat ramp. The dog was still wearing the 13.2-pound weighted belt and a front mesh harness, according to authorities.
The witness got Luque's license plate number and vehicle description, which helped police find him in a nearby parking lot. He told police that he had returned to the area to locate the dog's body, the affidavit said.
Luque told police that he's conducted weight training exercises with the dog numerous times and that he attempted to rescue the dog when it was drowning, but he had to get out of the water because his muscles were cramping, according to the report.
Luque was arrested on two animal cruelty charges.