A 47-year old Sarasota man who allegedly ‘doused his girlfriend’s dog in hot sauce’ in an attempt to stop it from barking has received a one-year jail sentence after he entered a no contest plea on a felony charge of aggravated animal cruelty.
According to local media reports, Ephrian Myles’ time at the county jail will be followed by 18 months probation, and he is also required to complete an anger management course. In addition, the defendant has been banned from owning a pet or living at a property with animals.
Animal rights supporters have welcomed the news, claiming that it sends a clear message to the community that animal abuse will not be tolerated. “We are pleased that the court has weighed up the seriousness of this offence, and that the defendant will be punished accordingly,” said one animal supporter.
According to one source, the dog involved in the incident was a three-month old dachshund-chihuahua mix named Gizmo. The accused is said to have ‘splashed the puppy with hot sauce’ after he became annoyed at the dog’s yelping, which covered the dog’s eyes and throat. Myles, meanwhile, has always maintained that he did not pour the hot sauce onto the puppy.
Gizmo’s then-owner rushed her dog to a nearby fire station after the incident, where he was reportedly ‘having trouble breathing and had his eyes swollen shut.” After the hot sauce was washed away, the dog was taken to a specialist vet for neurological tests.
Luckily, there was a happy ending to the story: Gizmo didn’t appear to have any long-lasting negative effects from the hot sauce, and he was soon adopted out to a new family.
However, while the majority of local residents shared their support for the defendant’s sentence on social media, some disputed whether the punishment was disproportionate to the crime. “If the guy had splashed hot sauce on one of his friends after an argument, would he have been sent to jail?” asked one Sarasota man.
A number of other Sarasota locals agreed that the sentence appeared severe. “Without knowing the full details, it does seem like an overreaction to send someone to jail for this, particularly as there’s no firm evidence that he actually did it,” wrote one woman.
Regardless of whether the sentence was appropriate for the crime or not, one thing that all Sarasota locals are in agreeance with is that it’s a good thing that Gizmo was OK. “He could have very easily been blinded by that, or developed a fear of humans,” wrote one local woman. “It’s great to hear that he’s doing OK and settling in with his new family.”