LANCASTER – A 53-year-old Lancaster man is in jail after cell phone video showing a dog being abused and slammed to the ground was brought to the attention of local law enforcement. (View the graphic video below. Warning: It contains offensive language.)
The alleged animal abuse occurred around 7:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 8 near a bus stop on Lancaster Boulevard and 5th Street East, according to Lindsey Cooks, the man who recorded the incident on his cell phone.
Cooks, 46, said he was waiting at the bus stop when he noticed a shirtless man swinging a yelping dog in the air by its leash. Cooks said he tried to warn the man, and the man began hurling racial slurs.
“I told him, ‘that’s cruelty to animals,’ and then he said ‘shut up!’ and the n-word…” Cooks told The AV Times. “He took the dog up and swung the dog on his head… so I called the police.”
Cooks said he called 9-1-1 and Lancaster deputies responded a short time late.
“We responded to a call about cruelty to animals, and we were shown the tape, which obviously substantiated that charge,” said Lt. Martinez of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
Robert Martin, 53, of Lancaster, was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty, Lt. Martinez said.
“I have a dog too, you know? You don’t treat a dog like that!” Cooks said, adding that he also spoke to the man’s neighbors.
“Apparently, that’s not the first time he did it,” Cooks said, “and nobody said anything? I couldn’t do that… I had to let somebody know.”
The dog was picked up by local animal control officers Friday morning and is now at the Lancaster Animal Shelter, Cooks said.
“I called the Lancaster shelter and they said the dog was doing okay,” Cooks said. “I just can’t understand how people could be so cruel like that, it just really hurt me.”
Martin remains jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail, according to LASD inmate records.
UPDATED 8/11/14: The animal is doing well and headed to foster care. Read our update at Abused dog headed to foster care.