Veteran’s service dog went to the groomer but came back with a broken tail, cops say

Brevard County Sheriff's Office

A disabled veteran’s service dog had to have its tail amputated in an emergency surgery after a Florida sheriff said a grooming salon employee seriously injured the dog.

James Cordell Doughty Suthann, 37, of Satellite Beach, was charged with felony cruelty to animals and was taken to the Brevard County jail.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a Facebook post the Feb. 6 incident with an 8-year-old German shepherd service dog occurred at a local grooming salon where Suthann was working as a contracted employee.

The owners of the grooming facility took action to no longer have Suthann at their facility after learning of the incident, according to Ivey.

Florida Today reported the incident occurred at Groomingdales Pet Spa in Satellite Beach. This salon could not immediately be reached for comment by McClatchy reporter.

Suthann allegedly became frustrated when the dog, named “TT,” would not stand still for the grooming.

At one point, video of the incident showed Suthann lift TT off the ground by the tail, twisting and breaking the dog’s tail so badly it could not be reattached and required emergency amputation surgery, according to Ivey.

Ivey said video also showed Suthann “cinch the pet’s head down so tight that the dog could no longer move and was obviously in pain,” and hit the dog in the head with a hose nozzle.

The video, Ivey wrote, was too graphic to post to social media. He did, however, post a photo of the dog’s injury.

brevard dog abuse.jpg
Brevard County Sheriff's Office

“(B)ut trust me when I tell you that it is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to watch in my 39 years of Law Enforcement because of the horrific and cruel way the pet was treated,” Ivey said.

WKMG ClickOrlando reported the dog’s owner, Rick McGuire, said the dog is recovering from the surgery.

“I don’t think she really misses (her tail), as far as I can tell, but I really don’t know what’s in her head,” McGuire told WKMG.

“Unfortunately, the maximum bond that could be placed on Suthann was $2,000.00, because they don’t let me personally set the bond amounts for criminals like this guy!!” Ivey wrote.

Suthann was released on bond Monday. He is scheduled for an initial court appearance Tuesday, according to jail records.

Suthann has previous arrests for aggravated stalking, violation of a protective injunction and criminal mischief.

Sara Nealeigh covers what’s happening in the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto, Florida for the Bradenton Herald. She previously covered breaking news for the Herald after moving to Florida from Ohio in 2016.