Central Florida kennel worker charged with animal cruelty for slamming dog to ground

ROCKLEDGE, Fla. (WSVN) — A central Florida man was arrested after surveillance video captured him whipping a dog around with its leash and slamming the animal to the ground.

The owner of Barkingham Palace in Rockledge reviewed their surveillance tapes after an employee noticed a Shih Tzu at their facility was injured, Fox 13 reports.

Kennel owner Candy Pearce was horrified when she watched the video, which showed a recently-fired worker, 18-year-old Joseph Pendergrass, picking up the dog by its neck with the leash before slamming the animal to the ground, breaking its leg.

Watch the video below (WARNING: footage may be disturbing to some viewers):

Pearce immediately called the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office after watching the disturbing footage.

“The only thing that kept going through my mind was, ‘I have to stop him from ever being able to work at a kennel again,'” Pearce said.

Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey said deputies arrested Pendergrass at a train station as he was returning to Florida from Georgia.

Ivey said Pendergrass’s family sent him to Georgia after he was fired from the kennel because they were afraid of him and didn’t want him around the children in their house. Once the family found out he was going to be charged, they told him to return home.

“If you can harm an innocent animal like that, what can you do to somebody else? What else are you capable of doing?” Ivey said.

The sheriff praised Pearce and other kennel staff for quickly notifying authorities, and noted they found no other cases of animal abuse at the kennel.

“To me they’re heroes. They did exactly what we’d want them to do,” the sheriff said.

Pendergrass has been charged with felony animal cruelty. It is unclear if he has an attorney.

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