Storage of beaten dog's remains rack up nearly $8,000 vet bill

Ponce Inlet police responsible for payment

PONCE INLET, Fla. – For two years, the remains of a dog that was beaten to death have been stored in a veterinarian's freezer racking up a nearly $8,000 bill while the suspect in the case awaits trial.

Ponce the Labrador retriever was found beaten to death in Ponce Inlet in April of 2017. His remains are considered evidence in the aggravated animal cruelty case against Travis Archer.

Ponce Inlet police said Archer threw, punched and gagged the 9-month-old black Lab because the puppy made a mess in the house.

The puppy's death sparked outrage and inspired the creation of Ponce's Law, which allows judges to ban offenders from owning pets and impose harsher punishments.

Since then, Ponce's bloodied remains have been stashed in a freezer at the DeLand Animal Hospital. The $7,906 storage bill will continue to grow and the Ponce Inlet Police Department is currently responsible for payment.

"It's just a shame. The body has been in there over two years now," Chief Frank Fabrizio said.

Fabrizio said the wait is a result of a motion filed by the defense asking the body to be held in the event they wanted to do their own necropsy. But the chief said a necropsy should have been done right away.

"We're a small police department with a small budget. That's obviously not something I budgeted for because I wasn't expecting this," Fabrizio said.

Too much time has passed for another necropsy to be performed so the chief would like Ponce's remains to be released, so he can have a proper burial.

Archer's defense attorney said it's the obligation of the government to prosecute the case and store evidence.
State's Attorney John Scott said in a statement, "We hope to have clarification at the next court date on Nov. 4. We will use the court proceedings to address the bill."

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