NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL – A New Smyrna Beach-area man has been arrested on a felony charge of animal cruelty after he used a machete to slash a dog several times. The dog survived after receiving emergency medical care for wounds to his back and face.
Richard K. Nelson, 46 (DOB 1/20/1975), was arrested Friday and additionally charged with providing false information to a law enforcement officer after video surveillance disproved his claim that he was defending himself.
The incident was reported July 9 in the back yard of 1931 Jungle Road, New Smyrna Beach, where the dog’s owner said Nelson, who was in the back yard of the property, attacked her dog after she let him outside. The owner conceded that the dog doesn’t like Nelson due to past encounters, but that the violent machete attack was unprovoked.
Nelson told deputies he was just sitting in the backyard when the dog attacked him and bit him in the chest. He claimed he only defended himself with the machete. The following day, a Volusia County Animal Services officer contacted the Sheriff’s Office with video surveillance footage that captured the incident. The video showed the dog roaming the yard until it ran past Nelson and growled. Nelson responded by picking up a machete and charging at the dog while throwing something at him.
Nelson continued to chase the dog around the yard and started slashing at him while the owner yelled for him to leave the dog alone. Nelson continued to chase and slash at the dog, pursuing him into a wooded area and into thick brush. The video contradicted Nelson’s claim of self-defense and showed he was the aggressor attacking the dog.
Nelson, listed as transient with no permanent address, was spotted Friday morning by an off-duty Edgewater Police Department K-9 officer and taken into custody by a deputy on his felony warrant. He was booked at the Volusia County Branch Jail, where he made the first appearance and was released Saturday morning.
Animal Services took custody of the dog and transported him for treatment of his injuries. He was able to be up and walking around shortly after the incident.