WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The typical story is dog bites man, but this time it is man bites dog. A Florida man is being convicted of biting a dog on the face, and choking him so hard his eye popped out.
This Tuesday, jurors found 37-year old David Etzel guilty of animal cruelty against his mother’s dog. Etzel could now face a year or more in jail during his sentencing this Friday.
Etzel’s mother, Michele, told deputes that in April, her 6-foot, 8-inch, 375-pound son had been drinking and was teasing Cujo, her Shih Tzu. The teasing prompted the dog to bite him. In retaliation, she said that Etzel then bit the dog back.
“I’m happy he was held accountable for what he did to my dog,” Etzel’s mother said, after the verdict. “My son needs alcohol treatment, and he needs anger management treatment.”
It was anger and alcohol that led Etzel to bite Cujo on his face and squeeze him.
Veterinarians were able to operate and successfully place Cujo’s eye back into the socket after two separate eye surgeries. However, this crime has now left him permanently blind. Cujo also suffered other injuries from when Etzel picked him up by his neck.
When asked how Cujo’s injuries related to other veterinary cases, the veterinarians responded that his injuries were akin to cases where dogs have been hit by cars, or attacked by other dogs.
Named after Stephen King novel about a rabid St. Bernard that attacks the town, Cujo is far from. Instead he is a sweet, friendly dog that Michele rescued from one of Etzel’s friends who could not afford to keep him. Since the incident, Cujo recovered from his injuries with Michele, and is happily living life as a dog should be.
Photos courtesy of Cujo’s GoFundMe.