Ashton was something of a celebrity at John's Automotive. Everyone knew the 4-year old mastiff-boxer mix. He was the shop owner's baby, which makes what happened to Ashton even harder for him to take.
"The owner got to work Sunday morning, realized his dog wasn't there," Sarasota Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Wendy Rose said. "So he called us just to file a missing or stolen dog report and didn't really see the need for further investigation, but at some point during his day he looked at his surveillance video."
That's when he realized his dog was viciously beaten to death – by someone he knew. Deputies arrested 52-year old Kevin Koscielniak, a homeless man who did odd jobs around the shop. They say he jumped over the barbed wire fence and attacked Ashton.
"He went straight to the dog, bludgeoned the dog with a tire iron. He wrapped him in a blanket from his kennel, dragged him next door. He cut the fence to drag him over there, and he buried him in a shallow grave," Rose said.
Ashton's owner was too upset to talk on camera, but he said he's known the suspect for years, paying him to clean up around the shop and even letting him live there for a while.
He said Koscielniak had been drinking that day and got mad when he was asked to leave. He never imagined the suspect would come back – much less do something like this.
Koscielniak is charged with cruelty to animals resulting in death as well as burglary. He's being held on $46,000 dollars bond.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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