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Dog euthanized after man jailed on animal cruelty charge

Animal cruelty lands Tallahassee man in jail
Posted at 9:30 AM, Dec 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-12 13:14:17-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Authorities have euthanized a dog after the Tallahassee man accused of kicking, choking and slamming it to the ground repeatedly was arrested for animal cruelty.

Hubert Christopher Maxwell, 27, was booked into the Leon County Detention Center on Saturday on a $10,000 bond for the third-degree felony of animal cruelty or neglect. He remained there Tuesday morning.

Maxwell picked up the male pit bull mix by the collar and choked it, a former roommate of his told the City of Tallahassee Animal Control in a phone call Nov. 4, 2016, and then slammed it onto the floor.

After kicking the dog, Maxwell put his foot across its neck. Afterward the dog was unable to use its legs properly, the Tallahassee Police Department investigator wrote in a probable cause affidavit.

Surgeries and physical therapy for the dog would not have left the animal with "normal, pain-free mobility," said Lt. Jeff Doyle, an animal control supervisor with the City of Tallahassee.

Doyle said the dog's behavior also presented a problem as it had become "over-stimulated with people, making him difficult to handle, and aggressive towards other dogs both in one-on-one meetings and in a group situation with other dogs."

The dog was "humanely euthanized" because of his extensive medical issues and concern that it would be unable to be rehabilitated given its temperament, Doyle wrote in response to a media inquiry.

The dog's medical problems were extensive, Doye said, listing them:

  • severe multiple fractures to both hips
  • fracture to his right femur
  • a skull fracture
  • a skin infection
  • covered in fleas
  • an ear infection
  • emaciation
  • severe anemia
  • patella luxation in right knee
  • soft tissue injury in his right elbow

The roommate said he had moved out of the residence with Maxwell because Maxwell was dangerous. TPD records revealed that the former roomate filed a battery report about Maxwell with TPD on Nov. 2, 2017, but no arrest was made for that case.

On Nov. 4, 2016, an animal control officer and a Leon County Sheriff's Office deputy went to Maxwell's residence to investigate the former roommate's report. As Maxwell stood in the doorway, one of two dogs that came out of the home was limping.

Both dogs were his, Maxwell said, and the dog was limping because he had disciplined it for peeing and pooping in the house.

Asked for more detailed information, Maxwell told the officers that about two weeks earlier he had grabbed the dog, threw it down into the it's waste, and then threw it out of the house onto the ground.

The animal control officer requested that the LCSO conduct a criminal animal cruelty investigation, but none took place, records indicated, the court document shows.

Documentation from a veterinarian showed that Maxwell followed the animal control officer's directions to have both dogs given rabies vaccinations. The veterinarian noted nothing about the injured dog.

On May 26, 2017, the animal control officer returned to Maxwell's house in responding to Maxwell's call of a stray dog in the backyard of his residence. She recognized the dog from the 2016 incident.

The severely emaciated dog "was barely able to walk with lameness in his back legs," and "his head appeared swollen as if he had been a victim of head trauma," the court document said.

The animal control officer later confirmed with the former roommate that the dog Maxwell called a stray was the dog Maxwell had "disciplined" in 2016. She also found a Facebook page with Maxwell and the two dogs.

On May 26, 2017, a veterinarian found that the flea-infested dog had suffered lameness in the rear legs, muscle atrophy on the head, numerous spots of hair loss and dermatitis, and severe hip fractures that appeared to be a few months old.

By June 7, 2017, the dog had shown marked improvement while under a veterinarian's care but still walked with lameness in its rear legs and hips.

On Nov. 15, 2017, a county court judge signed a warrant for Maxwell's arrest, court documents show. At that time, Maxwell, a former track and field star at the University of South Carolina, was teaching English in Xian, China, his Facebook page said.

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