Arlington family’s dachshund drowned by strangers in back yard

Posted Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
Dog drowning Anyone with information about the drowning is encouraged to call Arlington Detective Daisey Blanco at 817-459-6647.

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Cody, a black dachshund, had been a member of the Bennett family for seven years.

They loved the dog so much that even when it was diagnosed with a degenerative disc disease, they began treating him with steroids so he could walk again.

So it comes as no surprise that the southeast Arlington family is still reeling after discovering that two strangers broke into their back yard last Saturday and drowned the dog in their hot tub.

And the whole incident was captured on their outdoor surveillance cameras.

“Was it gang-induction related? Was it personal? Could someone have been upset because our dog was barking?” questioned Pam Bennett, who said her family has lived in Lonesome Dove Estates near Don Misenhimer Park for 13 years.

“Why did they choose our house that night?”

The Bennett family reported the incident to the Arlington police earlier this week. They’ve also reported the case to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Sarah Preston, an intake manager for PETA’s cruelty investigations department, said the organization receives about 400 reports of animal cruelty across the country each week.

But the Bennett’s experience is not typical, she said.

“The specifics of this case are really unusual. We hear a lot about neighbors who are mad because a dog is barking and they toss anti-freeze laced meatballs over the fence or they shoot the dog,” Preston said. “But something like this, with no suspects or no one complaining about the dog, to come in and do something so callous. …

“This is something crazy. This is something cruel.”

Video surveillance

Cody and the Bennett’s other dog, a miniature chihuahua, normally stay indoors but were let outside that night while the family was away.

When the oldest son and his friends arrived home around midnight, Bennett said he went into the back yard to call the dogs in but Cody didn’t come.

“That’s when they found him in the hot tub,” Bennett said.

The family reviewed surveillance footage from cameras recording their property and were shocked to see two individuals with flashlights or cell phones walking into the yard around 10:15 p.m. and spending several minutes torturing Cody.

“They took our dog and threw him in the water. We think they maybe even hurt his eye,” said Bennett, adding that the dog did get out of the hot tub once but was put back in. “Cody was trying to get out of the water.

“They drowned him. Once they were done, they made sure he wasn’t alive any more.”

The people involved face a Class A misdemeanor charge of cruelty to an animal, police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Houston said, which could result in up to a year in jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine.

A description of the pair was not available Thursday.

‘Vigorous prosecution’

If the people involved in the attack are arrested, Preston said PETA will contact the prosecutor to push for “vigorous prosecution,” specifically, psychiatric counseling and a ban on owning animals in the future.

“People who abuse animals rarely stop with animals,” she said. “It’s a danger to the community as well.”

If the Arlington police investigation stalls, PETA could offer a reward for information leading to the suspects’ arrest, she said.

Arlington police have received 15 reports of cruelty to animals so far this year that involved a pet’s death or serious injury because of criminal actions, according to department records.

The vast majority of animal abuse reports received by PETA involve pets left outside unattended.

“Keep your animals safely indoors with you unless you are outdoors to supervise them. People who abuse animals are cowards and bullies, and they take out their anger on animals and people who are smaller than them,” Preston said.

“Having your pets outdoors makes them a target for people like this.”

Both Preston and Bennett said they are worried that the suspects might have been carrying cell phones to shoot video to share online.

Bennett said her youngest son, who grew up with the dachshund, has taken news of Cody’s death hard.

“He’s been devastated,” Bennett said. “It’s totally disheartening that individuals would do this.”

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639 Twitter: @susanschrock

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