Laura Loftus says all she could do was yell Wednesday morning when she saw 'Pipsqueak,' who was leashed to his owner's SUV, being dragged out onto six-lane Palm Bay Road.
"Oh my god, how could someone do this to a dog? I was in shock," she recalled.
Police arrested the dog's owner, 44-year-old Chris Byrd of Palm Bay, on an unrelated warrant. But before he was taken to jail, police say he told them he had leashed the dog to his SUV as he was packing up his family of five at the Palm Bay Hotel.
"And he put the leash of the dog around the ball of his trailer hitch, put his children in the car, his wife had come out. And he said that he forgot the dog was on the back of the car when he left," a police spokesman explained.
Police say one witness told them Pipsqueak initially pulled against the leash as the vehicle dragged him along.
"And our second witness picked it up there and actually saw the dog being dragged trying to get up and keep up with the van until he got to the Kmart."
Police estimate Pipsqueak was dragged at 35 miles per hour for a distance of a quarter of a mile. Police say drivers honked at the SUV and called 911 until Byrd pulled over into the Kmart shopping plaza a quarter of a mile away -- his children now aware of what happened to the family pet.
"They were obviously traumatized; I mean, who wouldn't be? I've been doing this for nine years and it was a sight for me," the police officer added.
Pipsqueak was doing much better Wednesday afternoon after coming out of anesthesia. The veterinarian at the Malabar Country Vet and Groomer said she's surprised he didn't suffer any head injuries or broken bones. But she says the skin on the pads of his feet were completely torn off, and she had to clean and bandage up all four of his legs and paws.
Before going to jail, Byrd relinquished ownership of the young pit bull to the county. Pipsqueak's prognosis is for a painful, but full recovery.
Pipsqueak will most likely be put with a temporary owner. Then the county says they plan on adopting the dog out.
Byrd now faces animal cruelty charges.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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