Neighbor records New Smyrna Beach man kicking puppy, leading to his arrest, police say

Suspect claims 5-month-old puppy is his emotional support dog, report says

A 5-month-old puppy with a New Smyrna Beach police officer, on left, and Danny Brandner's mug shot, on right. (Images: New Smyrna Beach PD and Volusia County Jail) (WKMG 2021)

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A 37-year-old man was recorded on video kicking and hitting his 5-month-old puppy, which led to his arrest on animal cruelty charges, according to New Smyrna Beach police.

Danny Brandner, of New Smyrna Beach, was arrested Tuesday following several complaints from his neighbors alleging that he was hitting his dog. On June 15, police went to the Messina Apartments following a noise complaint. The caller reported noises from a dog coming from a nearby apartment but officers were unable to make contact with Brandner, according to the report.

Then on Monday, another resident recorded a video showing a man, later identified to be Brandner, kicking the dog, dragging it by the leash and punching it. The person notified authorities but police did not know which apartment the man lived in and were not able to locate him. Police said on Tuesday they were contacted by the community manager of the complex who learned about the incident from the night prior.

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Police learned which apartment Brandner lived in and attempted to speak with him but said he refused to answer questions, according to the arrest report.

Body camera videos released by the police department show two officers at Brandner’s door as he attempted to shut the door in their face.

“We have video of you beating the puppy that’s right behind you, we’ve had multiple complaints,” the officer said. “We’ve had officers come out here and do a report on it and try to come in contact with you and get your side of the story but you’ve been unwilling to try and talk to anyone.”

The officer said animal control officers also attempted to speak with Brandner prior to his arrest.

Brandner was slurring his words and unable to stand up straight, according to the report. The video shows him swaying as he stands.

As the officers helped Brandner get his keys and wallet, they saw the 5-month-old Malamute mix puppy inside. One of the officers paid special attention to the dog, giving him some pets.

“He just gets rambunctious,” Brandner said, adding the pup is his “emotional support dog” and offered to show a card to prove it.

“Yeah, he seems like a puppy,” the officer responded.

Brandner was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. He was booked into the Volusia County Jail.

His dog was taken by police to the Southeast Volusia Humane Society.