Man charged with throwing 16-year-old Shih Tzu in trash bag, rope around her neck, into dumpster

Man charged with throwing 16-year-old Shih Tzu in trash bag, rope around her neck, into dumpster

(As originally published with additional photos, Thu, December 19th 2023, 9:00 PM EST)

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. (TND) — Workers at a Family Dollar store in Florida “found a trash bag inside the dumpster with something moving inside,” the sheriff said, and a man is under arrest for what authorities call “a significant animal cruelty investigation.”

The workers made the discovery on Thursday.

“Stuffed inside the bag, employees found sweet Xyla, a 16-year-old Shih Tzu, with a rope around her neck,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said. “These heroic employees recognized this to be purposeful abuse and rushed Xyla to” a veterinarian.

Detectives found surveillance video showing “the suspect arriving at the dumpster in his vehicle, exiting, clearly removing a bundled up trash bag from within his trunk, and then tossing the bag into the dumpster from several feet away.

“During the investigation, detectives learned Xyla was micro-chipped, and then discovered the original owners were unfortunately deceased.”

Their investigation took them “to a nearby residence with the same vehicle matching that driven by the suspect in the surveillance footage.”

Anthony Lee Bellman opened the door and he “happened to be wearing the same clothing as the suspect in the footage, as well.

Man charged with throwing 16-year-old Shih Tzu in trash bag, rope around her neck, into dumpster
Man charged with throwing 16-year-old Shih Tzu in trash bag, rope around her neck, into dumpster, Dec. 14-18, 2023. (Lee Co. Sheriff’s Office)

“Bellman was taken in for questioning,” and he ended up charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Bellman, 55, was released in lieu of $50,000 bail after less than four hours in jail.

“Xyla is still healing from the horrific incident,” authorities said, and they’ll work “to see she finds a loving home in the future.”

“We will go to every length imaginable to protect those who cannot protect themselves,” Sheriff Marceno said. “Today, I’m proud to announce that justice was indeed served upon a selfish and cruel individual, who clearly has no regard for animals.”

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