Florida prosecutors have dropped animal cruelty charges against a former veterinarian’s clinic worker who was caught on camera slamming a dog against a wall in 2013.
Stefanie Stasse was fired from her job at the Emergency Pet Hospital in Orlando, Fla., after cellphone footage allegedly showing the abuse went viral.
According to the Daily Mail, sheriff’s deputies investigated the case and handed it to the state attorney’s office, which filed two animal cruelty charges.
But those charges have now been dropped because prosecutors were having trouble with key witnesses, who were Stasse’s colleagues at the time, WFTV reports.
The video shows Stasse swinging the dog by its neck and repeatedly slamming it against the wall.
Stasse was employed at the hospital at the time of the incident, and has since been fired, said hospital owner, Dr. Mohammad Hassan.
Hassan initially backed his staff member, saying she was beating the animal “because it had become too aggressive.”
“There was no damage whatsoever to the dog there,” he said.
He claimed the video was “obviously stolen” and manipulated to edit out parts where Stasse had handled the dog in a more gentle manner.
Hassan also said that two other staff members had been injured by the dog before Stasse stepped in.
"Human safety comes first," he said. "If anybody gets injured its a big liability."
But Hassan changed his mind after the video, released by WFTV, sparked public outrage.
“I want to apologize to all of the pet owners and animal lovers who were rightly shocked by the cruelty on the video,” Hassan said in a statement posted to the hospital's Facebook page.
“I was similarly shocked and sickened,” he added. “We will go forward in the upcoming weeks and months working hard to clear the name of this facility, which believes in the ethical treatment and care of animals, and works tirelessly against their mistreatment.”
Video Source: YouTube/Sicak Haber