Man Arrested for Animal Cruelty, Domestic Battery, Allegedly Assaulted Girlfriend, 2 Pet Rabbits

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

James W. Wertz, 28, of Boynton Beach, Florida, was arrested Friday night for punching and choking his girlfriend’s pet rabbit and injuring a second one before he threw his girlfriend, Dana Jongeward, across the room, CBS 12 reports.

The woman said Wertz choked Bun-Bun and then started punching the rabbit so hard that blood was coming from its face.

When she tried to stop him, at first Wertz apologized and put down the pet, but then became more enraged, she said.

She was trying to protect the bunnies and call 9-1-1 when Wertz grabbed her and threw her across the room, according to the police.

Boynton Beach police responded to a report of a disturbance at the couple’s shared residence in the 1000 block of Lake Terrace, Boynton Beach, at 11:38 p.m. on Friday.  

Jongeward, 25, told them the couple had been arguing over women's rights. In an interview Tuesday with the Sun Sentinel, Jongeward said Wertz was insisting it's a man's world--a stance she was challenging. The argument flared, and she told Wertz she wanted to end their relationship.

That is when he became violent and she left the living room and went into the bedroom in order to end the argument, the Sun Sentinel reports.

She then heard high-pitched screaming and recognized it as one of her rabbits. She was not sure which bunny Wertz assaulted first.

According to the police report, Jongeward witnessed Wertz abusing Bun Bun. "It was shocking, the most horrible thing I could walk out of the bedroom to see," she said.

Jongeward told reporters that she took the rabbits to an emergency veterinary clinic. Bun Bun suffered burst blood vessels in her eyes, and there is a possibility the animal will never regain her full vision.

 Maxine suffered soft-tissue damage. Both rabbits are being treated for pain and inflammation.

"I just can't believe it happened," Jongeward told the Sun Sentinel.

Jongeward said she is moving on from the relationship. "It's over," she told reporters, "It's beyond over."
Police state they searched for Wertz the night of the incident but were at first unable to find him.

Dana left the apartment for the night because she told police that Wertz had keys and she feared for her safety after the police left.

Wertz was located on Saturday and arrested, according to the police report. He was jailed on charges of battery and animal cruelty.

Court records show he remained in custody in the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $3,000 bail, the Sun Sentinel reports.

Sources: CBS, Sun Sentinel