ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A video of dogs being kept in a St. Petersburg backyard has gone viral and set off angry animal activists around the country.
8 On Your Side reached out to local authorities and to the dogs’ owner, who said the dogs are fine and there is no illegal activity.
8 On Your Side spoke to the man who took the videos, Tyler Little.
Little posted multiple videos of his neighbors back yard in St. Petersburg, saying pit bulls were being mistreated.
He claimed he watched his neighbor’s dogs get tortured first hand with water and firecrackers.
Animal services said the dogs are in good health and said nothing illegal is being done.
“The dogs are constantly crying. They’re constantly barking,” said Little.
“They need to be out of those cages. They’ve never been on the ground. They’ve been in the chicken coops their whole lives.”
Animal activists from around the country, including PETA, are now concerned.
“We have them on video water boarding the dogs and police said that’s not enough evidence to consider that animal abuse,” said Little.
“They’re not chicken coops, they are wooden dog kennels,” said Director of Pinellas County Animal Services, Doug Brightwell.
Brightwell said the dogs are not being abused.
“In a couple of the videos, one of them specifically shows a young boy with a water house several feet from the cage and hosing the dog as well,” said Brightwell.
“We don’t personally or professionally agree with that but it does not violate any of the current statutes or ordinances.”
Brightwell said Animal Services has been to the house five times, along with St. Pete police detectives.
He said they began their investigation in March when they received reports of pit bull fights and animal hoarding. Animal Services didn’t find any of that, but they did find three dogs tethered, which is now illegal.
Animal services said the owner was compliant and immediately fixed the issue.
Animal Services and St. Pete police most recently visited Monday and found four adult dogs and one liter of puppies with clean water and food.
“We took all the dogs out of the cages, examined them, all the dogs are in good body condition and appear to be in good health,” said Brightwell.
He went on to say all the dogs are vaccinated and licensed.
8 On Your side went to the home of the dog owners, but they chose not to go on camera until speaking with their lawyers.
The dog owners maintain they’ve done nothing wrong. 8 On Your side is not identifying the owner of the dogs because he has not been charged with any crime.
While we were talking with the dog owners, a neighbor drove by in her car.
“I saw the video of you spraying your dogs,” Jennifer Summer screamed from her car while filming.
“There’s nothing wrong here!” replied the dog owners.
Jenniffer Sunday told 8 On Your Side she’s an animal lover and is upset about the situation.
“I wanted to see if you guys were out here. I want to make sure people are following up on this,” said Summer.
“He’s teaching his kids to do the wrong thing, he’s doing the wrong thing. I think it may have something to do with dogfighting.”
The owner of the dogs said he’s received death threats from around the country, with people even threatening to torture his children and mother.
“I wouldn’t give them a death threat but I don’t have empathy for them [and that situation],” said Summer. “I mean you can hear [the dogs crying and screaming] right now!”
While animal services said they’ve found no signs of animal abuse so far, they also tell us their investigation is not closed.
Stay with 8 On Your Side for the latest in this developing situation.