Judge sets bond at $25K for man accused of attacking raccoon

Joseph Amico charged with animal cruelty

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A 26-year-old man who was arrested in connection with a video showing a raccoon being struck with a two-by-four faced a judge Thursday morning.

"This appears to be extremely cruel, gratuitous violence toward the animal," said Broward Circuit Court Judge John Hurley.

Hurley was clearly disturbed by the allegations, and he hadn't even seen the video.

Police on Wednesday charged Joseph Amico with animal cruelty.

The incident happened in the 6800 block of N. State Road 7. The video showed the raccoon come out from under a dumpster and reach out for food. Police said Amico then hit the raccoon. After the hit, the stunned animal scurried into the garbage and died.

"It (the arrest affidavit) says the animal never attacked you, the animal never came at you," Broward Circuit Court Judge John Hurley said Thursday morning during a bond hearing. "And, it says at some point, you took a swing at the raccoon with a two-by-four, fracturing its skull, and causing it to die a slow, painful death."

Hurley raised Amico's bond to $25,000 after noting his criminal history, which included prison time for burglary and drug trafficking.

"It was just one time. All charges ran concurrent," Amico told Hurley.

"I'm sorry. Two separate cases. You went to prison one time," Hurley replied before raising the bond.

"Based on your criminal record and the level of violence, most likely you'll go back to prison if convicted on this," Hurley said.

On Wednesday, another raccoon found in the same dumpster was trapped and released.