Pit bull dragged by SUV, injured in Palm Bay; man arrested

Christopher Byrd arrested on animal cruelty charges

PALM BAY, Fla. - A 43-year-old man was arrested Wednesday morning in Brevard County on allegations of dragging a pit bull behind a sport utility vehicle.

Christopher Byrd was arrested on animal cruelty charges and was taken to Brevard County jail on $1,000 bond. Byrd had an outstanding warrant from Pasco County and will be transferred there upon being released from Brevard jail.

At Byrd's first appearance, he posted bond for animal cruelty but is still jailed because of his Pasco County warrant. He must post bond of $3,221.28 for his warrant of not paying child support.

According to Palm Bay police, a caller alerted officers about a SUV dragging a dog on a leash westbound on Palm Bay Road. Police said the driver drove more than 1,000 feet at 35-40 miles per hour before realizing the family dog was attached to the trailer hitch.

Witnesses said Pipsqueak tried to keep up with the car by running when it first started to drive away, but when Byrd started driving faster he tried to brace himself, taking off most of the padding on his paws.

Officers found the SUV in the parking lot of a McDonald's on Babcock Street, and the dog, named Pipsqeak, had serious injuries to its paws and side, police said.

The driver was identified as Byrd, and he was arrested.  Byrd told police that he forgot that the dog was tied to the bumper. His wife told investigators they never heard the concerned honks for help until they were flagged down in the parking lot.

Police said Byrd had 5 kids in the car, ranging in ages from 1 years old to 9 years old, who saw the accident.

Animal Control took possession of the dog, and officials said it appears the animal will survive.  Police said once Pipsqueak recovers from his injuries, he'll be transferred to Brevard Animal Services where he can be adopted.

An investigation is ongoing.

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