BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – A veteran Bradenton police detective has resigned and her boyfriend, also an officer at the department is currently under investigation.
Detective Yolanda Torres turned in her resignation on Sept. 17. She had been with the department for 16 years. Officer Jason Burchett is currently on unpaid leave from his position.
The couple lives at a home in Hillsborough County and on July 29, Torres had family members in town, including her 5-year old niece Falon.
Torres told investigators she heard a commotion only to discover her dog Buddy was attacking and biting Falon on the face. They ripped the dog off the little girl and rushed her to a local hospital for treatment. Officer Burchett took Buddy to some nearby woods and shot him.
But Buddy survived and an animal control officer ended up picking him up and transporting him to a local vet hospital for treatment and the investigation began.
When officers questioned Torres, the report indicates she told them she believed the dog had just run off after going out to use the bathroom. They determined that wasn’t true and issued her a civil citation for interfering with an animal control officer.
Officer Burchett’s situation is far more serious. Hillsborough Animal Control officers have recommended that he face a felony charge of animal cruelty and a misdemeanor charge of animal abandonment.
He has not been arrested and the case is currently being reviewed by the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office.
The situation has Brooke Tanner fuming. She is Falon’s mother and believes Officer Burchett acted appropriately.
“The fact that they just glorified this dog, it wasn’t right,” said Tanner. “What that dog did to my daughter wasn’t right.”
She can’t understand why people are sympathizing with a viscious dog that attacked her little girl.
“They had to pull the dog off of my child’s face, after it mauled her face,” said Tanner. “I feel like when a dog turns that aggressive and mauls a child’s face, it shouldn’t have a second chance. She doesn’t have a second chance at her scars.”
8 On Your Side visited the Torres home and no one answered the door. A police department spokesman would only say the department will not offer further comment until the state attorney’s investigation is completed.
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