POSTED: Friday, October 11, 2013 - 5:22pm
UPDATED: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 10:39am
Caddo Parish, LA (KETK) — The suspect at the center of an investigation into cruelty to the puppy Braveheart turned himself in at the Caddo Correctional Center, Friday afternoon.
Gabriel Lee, 31, of Shreveport, is currently being booked at the facility.
He turned himself in on a warrant obtained by Caddo Animal Control for cruelty to animals.
Braveheart, a four-month-old puppy, was found abandoned, chained in a storage unit on Youree Drive in Shreveport on September 11. There was no food or water for the dog, and when the storage complex owners found him, they thought he was dead. Braveheart blinked, so they took him to Animal Emergency Clinic on Line Avenue.
There, a vet got him through the night, with help from veterinarian technicians like Ronda Spataro. Braveheart became a part of her family, going to work with her and then sleeping in her bed at night.
Through Facebook, Braveheart's story went viral, catching the eye of Caddo Parish Animal Control. According to director Everett Harris, vet records and pictures of Braveheart weren't enough to prosecute Braveheart's technical owner, they needed Braveheart as well. Wednesday afternoon, Animal Control seized Braveheart, threatening to arrest the Spataros if they didn't take them to the puppy.
A day later, Braveheart was still at the Caddo Parish Animal Shelter, and Animal Control, along with Caddo Parish, called a meeting to let people know why that happened. Harris said legally the puppy must be in their possession for legal action.
Commissioner Matthew Linn stepped in, asking if an exception could be made. Braveheart is still in need of constant veterinary care, and has bonded to vet tech Ronda Spataro. His request was denied.
Then, just a few hours later, his request was granted. Animal Control had located the person who rented the storage unit, and he had relinquished ownership of Braveheart. At 5, Animal Control's public relations said Braveheart was being picked up by the vet at Animal Emergency Clinic.
Braveheart is expected to be with his new family, Ronda and Bo Spataro, soon, accroding to the puppy's Facebook page .
Lee's bond has been set at $5,000.