Man attacks dog with machete, claims self defense, Volusia deputies say

Dog survived after getting treatment for wounds to back, face

Richard K. Nelson. (Image: Volusia County Sheriff's Office)
Richard K. Nelson. (Image: Volusia County Sheriff's Office) (2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

A New Smyrna Beach-area man has been arrested on a felony charge of animal cruelty after he used a machete to slash a dog several times, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

The dog survived after receiving emergency medical care for wounds to his back and face, deputies said.

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Richard K. Nelson, 46, was arrested Friday and additionally charged with providing false information to a law enforcement officer after video surveillance disproved his claim that he was defending himself, according to deputies.

The incident was reported July 9 in the back yard of 1931 Jungle Road, New Smyrna Beach, where the dog’s owner said Nelson, who was in the back yard of the property, attacked her dog after she let him outside, deputies said.

The owner conceded that the dog doesn’t like Nelson due to past encounters, but that the violent machete attack was unprovoked, according to deputies.

Nelson told deputies he was just sitting in the back yard when the dog attacked him and bit him in the chest. He claimed he only defended himself with the machete, deputies said.

The following day, a Volusia County animal control officer contacted the Sheriff’s Office with video surveillance footage that captured the incident. The video showed the dog roaming the yard until it ran past Nelson and growled. Nelson responded by picking up a machete and charging at the dog while throwing something at him, deputies said.

Nelson continued to chase the dog around the yard and started slashing at him while the owner yelled for him to leave the dog alone, deputies said.

Nelson continued to chase and slash at the dog, pursuing him into a wooded area and into thick brush, according to deputies. The video contradicted Nelson’s claim of self-defense and showed he was the aggressor attacking the dog, according to deputies.

Nelson, listed as transient with no permanent address, was spotted Friday morning by an off-duty Edgewater Police Department K-9 officer and taken into custody by a deputy on his felony warrant, deputies said.

He was booked at the Volusia County Branch Jail, where he made a first appearance and was released Saturday morning, according to deputies.

Animal Control took custody of the dog and transported him for treatment of his injuries. He was able to be up and walking around shortly after the incident, deputies said.