OKC Man Accused Of Choking, Beating Dog In Public
OKLAHOMA CITY - Witnesses reported a man, they said, violently choked and beat his dog on Saturday near Northwest 36th and May Avenue.
Police arrested Lyle Benavidas, 40, on city and state animal cruelty complaints.
Witnesses said they couldn’t believe their eyes.
“I was like, umm, are you really doing that to that dog?” said Summer Smith, dog abuse witness.
Smith was at work Saturday night when she saw Benavidas with his dog Zephyr. Smith said she was horrified when she saw the man dragging the dog.
“Me and my coworkers saw this guy like yanking and dragging this dog across my parking lot,” said Smith. “The Dunkin Donuts parking lot and the Starbucks parking lot.”
That's when she pulled out her phone and recorded Benavidas with the helpless dog.
“He was yelping and cowering away,” said Smith.
One of her coworkers confronted the man and Smith called police. Other witnesses in the area also reported seeing the abuse.
“The witnesses say they saw the man pulling the dog by what appeared to be a choke collar very aggressively,” said Officer Megan Morgan, Oklahoma City Police Department. “And then punching the dog in his face and neck area.”
Smith showed her video to officers and was relieved when police arrested Benavidas on city and state animal cruelty complaints. She said the dog's demeanor also changed once he was taken from the owner.
“He was so scared and it was so sad to see the dog. The world was lifted off his shoulders,” said Smith. “If that’s what was going on in public imagine what was going on at home.”
Benavidas told officers he was running with the dog and training him.
Oklahoma City Animal Welfare took the dog, and report Zephyr is recovering and did not suffer serious injuries. Officials said the dog cannot be adopted unless the owner is found guilty of animal cruelty charges.