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Dog shot in the face in Florida adopted by sheriff's office employee and his wife

The Florida man who shot the dog in the face was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
/ Source: NBC News

A man who shot a dog in the face in Florida last April was sentenced to 18 months in prison, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office shared in a news release June 29.

The dog, Rocky, had surgery after the April 2022 shooting and made a full recovery, according to the release. The dog was adopted by Hayden Ore, a crime analyst with the sheriff's office, and his wife. The couple says the dog has made a "wonderful addition" to their family and has shown no signs of aggression.

"Rocky is now living happily with Analyst Ore and his wife and no longer has to live in fear," Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement.

Rocky.Flagler County Sheriff's Office

State Attorney R.J. Larizza called the dog's recovery "miraculous" in a statement.

“There is no doubt he suffered greatly. Rocky has a loving home and the defendant is behind bars. A fitting end to a disturbing crime," Larizza said.

Jamier Lee-Bright pled guilty to felony cruelty to animals and tampering with physical evidence, according to authorities. In addition to serving 18 months in prison, he has been sentenced to 42 months of probation, placed on the animal abuse registry and must forfeit his firearm and complete a mental health evaluation.

On April 5, 2022, after neighbors reported hearing gunshots and an animal crying, Flagler County deputies found Rocky shot in the snout and left in a kennel. Lee-Bright, who was at the home, initially said he didn't hear anything, but the responders called in detectives for an investigation after noticing a freshly dug hole and blood on his face.

The news release states that Lee-Bright later said a family member screamed at the dog because he bit her. Lee-Bright told detectives he shot the dog in the head outside before placing him back in the kennel, where Rocky was left for more than two hours, according to the news release.

The dog had surgery, which included staples in his snout, a metal pin in his leg, multiple stitches and a drain in his neck. During his recovery, Rocky was turned over to Palm Coast Animal Control, but after Ore heard the dog's story, he agreed to foster the dog after he was released from the vet.

By May 10, 2022, Rocky was able to put weight on his leg again, the sheriff's office said in a release at the time. According to his new owner, Rocky is "very playful, loves his toys, is great with our other dog, and loves everyone he meets. He’s never even growled at us, unlike his previous family claimed. A little love goes a long way!”