Decapitated Dog Found at Fort De Soto, Owner in Custody

According to deputies, a St. Petersburg man was taken into custody on Tuesday after discovering his recently adopted puppy dead inside a plastic bag.

Domingo Rodriguez, 66, reportedly traveled to Fort De Soto Park on Saturday morning with a sizable cooler in the back of his pickup truck, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Rodriguez was suspected of decapitating the animal, a bulldog mix named Dexter, which he adopted the day before, and placing it in the mangroves around the East Beach area wrapped in a plastic bag. After being taken out of the water, the dog’s microchip was checked, directing deputies to Rodriguez.

Rodriguez admitted to being the only driver of the pickup and that he had visited the Fort De Soto that day, according to deputies who spoke with him at his residence. Deputies also found bags at the house that matched the one the dog was found in.

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According to PCSO, he informed deputies that Dexter “must have run away.”

“During the interview, (Rodriguez’s) story had many inconsistencies and contradictions,” as per a PCSO arrest report. “Despite being a new dog owner, (Rodriguez) only had the items provided to him at the time of the adoption.”

When Rodriguez’s wife went to bed on Friday, deputies said she told them the dog was “alive and well.” On Saturday morning, neither Rodriguez nor Dexter was there when she woke up.

Rodriguez was charged with animal cruelty and unlawful disposal of dead animals after his detention on Wednesday. Later on in the day, he bonded.


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