Chiefland woman facing animal cruelty charges in dog’s shooting

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By The Staff

A Chiefland woman has been arrested on two counts of cruelty to animal charges after a veterinarian’s office reported the family’s pet, a young Shepard mix, had been brought in with gunshot wounds.

Jessica Sweat, 39, was jailed with a bond of $100,000 on each charge after Levy County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call from Chiefland Animal Hospital. 

According to the arrest report, Sweat told a deputy she spanked and shot the dog, a young shepherd mix on July 14 after it damaged a shed, and it growled and attacked her leg when she went to put it back in the shed. She put the injured pet into the shed and would not allow a witness to the event to seek medical care or to provide food and water for the dog. “The defendant advised that she thought she didn’t injure the dog that bad and that it would be OK,” according to the deputy’s report. 

Sweat told the deputy she checked on the animal on Tuesday and again on Wednesday and it tried attacking her arm. The deputy’s report said she complained to her husband about the dog and he told her to kill it. 

On Thursday, July 17, the witness said Sweat tied the dog to a pole and told him to hold the dog while she shot it, but he refused and Sweat fired at the animal six times hitting it once in the foot. 

Sweat then got into her vehicle and left the residence, according to the witness. Sweat later told the deputy she went out to eat after failing to kill the dog and becoming frustrated.  

It was at that point the dog was brought to the vet’s office. 

According to the deputy’s report, the family obtained the dog in December and it bonded with a family member, growling whenever anyone came around the child.

The dog was listed in stable condition by the veterinarian. 

The Sheriff’s Office has notified the Department of Children and Families about the incidents as there are children in the Sweat home.