South county man charged in death of girlfriend’s Yorkshire puppy

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A Vero Beach man is out of jail on bond after the Indian River County Animal Control said he killed a Yorkshire puppy during an argument with his girlfriend.


The Sheriff’s Office arrested Justin Dabelow, 23, of 16th Court SW, Vero Beach, south of Oslo Road, on Tuesday, Nov. 17. Dabelow was released from jail on $7,000 bond and faces charges of animal cruelty, animal abandonment and improper disposal of a dead animal.

According to the case report, Dabelow and his girlfriend were arguing at their home Nov. 8 when Dabelow reached into the Yorkie’s kennel. Dabelow told authorities that the dog, Toby, bit him and so he punched Toby in the head, knocking the dog unconscious.

Instead of seeking medical attention for the dog, Dabelow said he put Toby back in the kennel after checking to make sure he was still breathing and there was still a heartbeat.

The couple left the home and when they came back, Dabelow’s girlfriend discovered Toby dead, the report states.

Dabelow grabbed the puppy and then threw it over the fence into the woods near the home, according to what Dabelow told investigators.

A deputy recovered the puppy’s body and took it into evidence for the resulting animal abuse case.

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