State seeks to uphold pet ownership ban on Florida man who beat puppy to death

Travis Archer agreed to ban in plea deal, state says; case prompted Ponce’s law

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The state on Wednesday filed a motion for a rehearing in a case involving a man who beat his puppy to death, which sparked public outrage and led to the creation of Ponce’s law.

Travis Archer’s 9-month-old Labrador was found gagged and bleeding from his mouth in the backyard of Archer’s Ponce Inlet home in April 2017. Archer told police that the puppy made a mess in the house and when he went to discipline him, the dog bit his hand.

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Records show Archer admitted to throwing the puppy against a wall and punching the animal at least twice. The puppy died as a result of his injuries, and Archer was arrested on an aggravated animal cruelty charge.

In November of last year, Archer pleaded guilty to one count of felony cruelty to animals. The plea deal called for Archer to spend a year in jail, followed by three years of probation and a lifetime ban on owning animals.

Two weeks ago, however, the Fifth District Court of Appeals, ruled that the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction by imposing a lifetime ban of pet ownership, even though Archer and his attorney agreed to the condition, the state said.

“I want to thank the Office of Attorney General Ashley Moody and her staff for their hard work and dedication in agreeing to file a motion for rehearing in this important case,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said in a statement.

As a result of the outcry surrounding the case, then Gov. Rick Scott signed Ponce’s law into effect in April 2018. The legislation prohibits offenders from owning pets. It also increased the severity ranking of an animal abuse-related crime, making it more likely that abusers will serve jail time.

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Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.