Man arrested on animal cruelty charges in Aventura after officer hears puppies wailing

(Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation)

AVENTURA, Fla. – A 22-year-old man was arrested over the weekend in Aventura after witnesses saw him abusing two puppies, authorities said.

Justin Lancaster, of Fort Lauderdale, faces charges of animal cruelty and resisting an officer without violence.

According to his arrest report, the arresting officer had pulled into a Walgreens on Aventura Boulevard Saturday night when he heard the sound of dogs wailing.

Police said the officer drove toward the sound of the dogs and two nearby CVS employees pointed him in the direction of Lancaster.

“He’s killing the dogs!” one employee yelled, according to the arrest report.

The officer called for backup and saw Lancaster sitting on the ground with his back turned near some shrubbery, appearing to put something around the dogs’ necks as they wailed.

The witnesses claimed they saw Lancaster throwing and slamming the puppies in the shrubbery.

Police said the officer pointed his gun at the suspect and ordered him to lay on his stomach.

According to the arrest report, Lancaster turned in the officer’s direction but didn’t follow his commands, saying the dogs were his puppies.

The officer eventually put his gun away when he saw that Lancaster wasn’t armed, but punched him in the face as Lancaster stiffened his body and refused commands to put his hands behind his back, the report stated.

Authorities said one of the puppies ran off during the struggle, but was found a short time later.

Both dogs were “visibly hungry, shaking and scared,” the report stated. “When officers attempted to pick up the puppies, they both collapsed into the bush as if they were extremely exhausted from fighting off (the) defendant’s efforts to hurt them.”

Police said Lancaster had been trying to put a makeshift belt around the dogs’ necks, which was short in length with a buckle and a string or cord attached to it.

The puppies were taken to the Hollywood Animal Hospital for treatment.

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