A South Carolina man is being investigated after a neighbor caught him on camera “violently striking” his dog with a wooden board (video below).
Harry Leon Leviner Jr. was arrested on Oct. 13 and charged with ill treatment of animals, WIS-TV reported. The arrest came after a video taken by a neighbor was brought to the attention of the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department.
This video was also recently posted online.
In the video, Leviner is seen beating his 7-year-old German shepherd, Sasha, with a board. The dog can be heard whimpering while she is being hit.
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Leviner told deputies he beat the dog with a plastic bat because her chain had been stuck in the front bumper of his van, according to the incident report, which was obtained by WIS-TV. Leviner added that he was trying to set the dog free and that this was the usual method he took to get the dog away from the bumper.
But after deputies saw the video and interviewed the neighbor who recorded it, Leviner was arrested.
“The unit watched the video in question, and it clearly shows Mr. Leviner repeatedly using excessive, unnecessary force by striking the dog with a board that contained screws on both ends,” the report stated.
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Leviner reportedly told deputies, “It’s only a dog!” as he was taken into custody.
“I don't know why anybody would want to lay a hand on one of them, especially this one,” Les Porter, director of Orangeburg County Animal Control, told WLTX. “This is Sasha ... We were glad that we could get her out of a situation that wasn't too good for her.”
Porter added that Sasha has permanent head tilt from constant ear infections. She also reportedly has multiple wounds on her body.
“You can see that any kind of abuse that she has suffered from that she may have suffered from ... has not really affected her and her attitude,” Porter said. “She greets everybody. She loves everybody.”
The Orangeburg County Animal Control petitioned to have all three of Leviner’s dogs sent to a shelter. However, they were not given full custody of the dogs and Leviner could get them back following criminal proceedings.
Amber Cuttino, a volunteer, made a case for the dogs on Facebook. The Facebook videos of Sasha have since gone viral.
“People are outraged,” Cuttino told WIS-TV. “It's sad. It's one of the most heartbreaking things you've ever see and they just lay there because that's their owner and they love him.”
(Harry Leon Leviner Jr. Photo Credit: Orangeburg County Detention Center via WIS-TV)
Leviner was released from jail on a $5,000 bail. He is due to appear in court on Dec. 14.
Animal Control said Sasha is doing well now.
“She's been as good as gold ever since I picked her up,” Porter added.