SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A woman who recorded what she believes is troubling treatment of two dogs in a Southwest Miami-Dade neighborhood said something must be done to help the animals, but the dogs’ owner said he’s just training his huskies.
The footage shows what appears to be the canines being trained.
“Now sit up. That’s what I want from you. I said sit,” a man said in one of the videos before he is seen hitting the animal in a parking lot.
On Tuesday, the owner of the dogs, Christian Souto, shared his side of the story.
“Abusive dogs have abusive tendencies. This is not a dog that is being abused, clearly,” he said as he pet one of his huskies.
But the resident who recorded the two videos said the footage tells a different story.
“He claims that this is his way of disciplining his dog,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified or show her face on camera. “The dog is yelping, screaming, crying to get away from him and he continues to hit him.”
The woman spoke with 7News on Monday.
“There’s no need to have to hit a dog so many times to the point that it cries,” she said.
Souto said he has two dogs.
“I sell huskies; I breed them,” he said.
The resident said she has attempted to discuss the matter with Souto, to no avail.
“Anytime we have confronted him about it, he states that we need to stay out of his business and, you know, this is the way he disciplines his dog, and it’s just not right,” said the woman.
At one point in one of the videos, the neighbor is seen grabbing one of the dogs and throwing it down in the hallway of an apartment complex.
“You better listen, boy!” the man said.
The woman said she reached out to 7News because she wants something done.
“It gets old. You see this nasty behavior every single day, and you try to do something about it by contacting officials who you think will be on your side, and nothing has gotten done, nothing,” she said.
But Souto said his neighbors don’t have the whole story.
“All these pictures, they’re great pictures, they paint a perfect picture. It’s not real, though, so I’m here to tell you it’s not real,” he said.
Souto said he’s the one who feels attacked.
“The main problem is not about what I’m doing with the dogs. It’s about people who are escalating issues that are not real issues,” he said.
Souto said the younger dog of the two is very vocal because he’s smart and knows when he’s being disciplined.
“If you see me chastising the dog, ‘Don’t [expletive] in the cage, come down here when we go potty,’ if you see me doing that, you weren’t with me upstairs to see the dog [expletive] in the cage, [expletive] in the house,” said Souto.
7News showed him the video of him appearing to slam the dog to the ground to which he said, “No, come look. Slammed? This is slammed, if I picked him up and threw him, that’s slammed. For me to control, which is domination, these dogs are off of respect.”
A 7News crew also showed the video to officials with Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation.
The organization is not involved, but its dog manager, Frank Tammero, reacted strongly about what he saw in the snippets of video.
“I think he’s angry about something. It’s abuse, and I don’t see where he can draw the line that it is discipline. That’s not discipline,” he said.
As for whether there is enough evidence for charges to be brought against the neighbor, Tammero said, “I think the video is enough to charge.”
Tammero said he has no doubt as to what should happen next.
“The screams of the dog and the way he was picking the dog up and throwing the dog down, it’s abuse. It’s nothing short of animal abuse,” he said.
Officials with Miami-Dade Animal Services confirmed they are looking into this matter.
“I would love for his dogs to be taken away and put into a better home,” said the woman.
As of Tuesday night, Souto has not been charged.
He admits he has not had any official training.
“I haven’t done any master training, like, I don’t have any certified courses, but just like everybody else trying to figure out their life during this COVID pandemic, I have a new lane,” he said. “I was able to get two dogs. I love huskies, people also love huskies. Why not try to make some money off of the love that I have and other people have?”
Animal Services is requesting that anyone who witnessed the events shown on the video or has firsthand information on the incident related to the case step forward by calling 311.
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