Flagler County authorities are currently investigating a video that surfaced on Facebook showing a dog chained to the top of a cage that was traveling south on Interstate 95 headed toward Flagler.
The video was posted on Wednesday in the Facebook page "Swip*Swap*Palm*Coast*FL." It's quickly gaining traction within the community with more than 2,000 shares and nearly 122,000 views as of 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
A First Coast News viewer, Julie Andrews, sent us the video and said, "We just want this to be aired in hopes of catching that guy. It is clearly a dangerous situation for the dog and given they are pits, we all know (they are) most likely fighting dogs."
WARNING: The video contains inappropriate language for some viewers.
Flagler Animal Services, which is leading the investigation and working with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, said the dog, a Blue American Pitbull Terrier named Zeus, had a single tether attached to the box and he was riding on top. The vehicle was heading from Hastings to Flagler County.
First Coast News spoke with the man who claimed he is the dog's owner, who didn't want to be identified. He told us that the dog isn't a fighting dog, but rather a hunting dog he uses to hunt hogs. He said this is an "OK" way to transport dogs and that is "how everybody transports."
The owner also said the dog likes to ride outside of the cage. He said the dog was harnessed and chained so it wouldn't fall.
Amy Wade-Carotenuto, the executive director at the Flagler Humane Society weighed-in on the video. She said the owner broke the law because he didn't tether the dog two times.
The law she is referring to is an ordinance in Flagler County about transporting animals. According to No. 93-15 S 4, 11-15-93:
"Sec. 5-64. - Transporting in open vehicles.
All dogs taken off their owner's property and transported in the open bed of pickup trucks, or in any other type of open vehicle, to public places or residential areas shall be confined in pens in or on such trucks or other vehicles or be restrained by a minimum of two (2) tethers or some other similar method to safely control or restrain the dogs from easily escaping the vehicles."
Jeffery Ritter with Flagler Animal Services said the dog can be outside of the cage as long as he is tethered twice and secure. But since the dog was only tethered once, Ritter confirmed the owner broke the law and should be receiving a ticket.
The original post also stated that the dog has an "S" carved into its leg.
The owner said the "S" was there when he got Zeus as a puppy. He said the dog is not a fighting dog, but was branded.
Flagler Animal Services said the driver in the video, believed to be the owner, has been cooperating with authorities and agreed to a wellness check.
Once animal services completes their investigation, they'll turn their findings over to the sheriff's office.
Stay with First Coast News as this story develops.
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