MANATEE -- A Palmetto man has been convicted of animal cruelty for not taking his puppy to the veterinarian after its ears were cut off.
Adrian Trevino, 22, was found guilty late Tuesday in a jury trial of one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.
Trevino was initially charged May 15 with a felony, accused of cutting the dog's ears, inflicting unnecessary pain and not seeking medical attention for the dog's pain and suffering.
"He was in possession of this dog, the evidence shows that he was responsible for the well-being of that dog," Assistant State Attorney Lisa Chittaro said. "Therefore he is the one accountable for the well-being of the dog and he didn't do anything about it."
Trevino faces up to two years in prison and $1,000 in fines. The sentencing hearing has not been set.
The Manatee County Sheriff's Office initially received the complaint April 4. Neighbors reported Trevino had cut the ears off his puppy pit bull.
When deputies responded to the scene, the puppy was in the arms of one of the neighbors who made the complaint.
As deputies were speaking with the neighbor: "Adrian approached me and asked if he could have his dog back," one deputy wrote.
Deputies asked Trevino how long he had the puppy.
"Adrian said he found the dog last night at around 2100 (9 p.m.) in Rubonia while driving," the deputy wrote. "He said the dog's ears were already cut up, and he took it home and put antibiotic ointment on them."
Deputies reported the dog had a harness on that fit perfectly.
Animal control was called out to assist.
"The ears did not look like they were removed by a trained vet," animal control officers wrote in a report. "They looked like they were hacked off with scissors or a knife."
Neighbors told investigators Trevino had the dog for weeks and its ears had been fine until the day they reported it.
The dog was taken into custody by animal control. In addition to its ears being cut down to the cartilage, the puppy was also malnourished and had hookworms.
"The only reason the dog got medical attention was because the neighbors called 911," Chittaro said. "The vet testified that if the dog had not received the medical attention at the time, the result would probably had been death."
During testimony, a veterinarian testified the wounds were consistent with scissors or a knife, she said.
Trevino remains free on a $10,000 bond.
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.