Dog watcher charged with animal cruelty in Lincoln Square

Freddie Rodriguez | CPD

A dog watcher used a shoe and a broomstick to attack a dog that was entrusted to his care in Lincoln Square, prosecutors said Saturday. While felony animal cruelty charges are relatively rare, the case was the third brought by prosecutors in Chicago in two days.

Freddie Rodriguez, 46, was a long-time employee who worked as the overnight dog watcher at a facility in the 5000 block of North Western when the attack happened on the evening of October 25, Assistant State’s Attorney Sergio Gomez said.

Surveillance video allegedly showed Rodriguez sitting in a chair when a two-year-old Australian Shepherd mix that weighed about 30 pounds walked up to him with its tail wagging around 8 p.m.

Rodriguez was seen taking off a shoe, striking the dog with it, and then getting up to hit the animal with his shoe multiple times, Gomez said.

He then grabbed a wood broom, cornered the dog, and struck it multiple times until the broom broke, according to Gomez.

The dog ran under a bed. When it came out, Rodriguez grabbed the broken broom handle, backed the dog into a corner, and struck it with the handle, Gomez said.

The attack fractured the radius and ulna in one of the dog’s legs, according to Gomez.

“Yeah. I broke the leg,” Rodriguez blurted out as Gomez explained the allegations against him.

Gomez said the dog could only walk on three legs because of the injuries, and Rodriguez did not seek medical attention for the animal. Another employee discovered the dog’s injuries after they relieved Rodriguez about eight hours after the attack, according to Gomez.

A veterinarian inserted a metal plate and screws to repair the dog’s leg.

“I will pay for medical bills. That I will do,” Rodriguez said during the hearing.

Prosecutors charged him with aggravated cruelty to animals, torture of an animal, and misdemeanor animal cruelty.

“I cannot hold you no bail. Even though I really do have the urge to do so,” Judge Charles Beach told Rodriguez, referring to the state’s bail regulations.

Instead, the judge set bail at $150,000. Rodriguez must post 10% of that to get out of jail on electronic monitoring, under Beach’s order.

The judge also ordered Rodriguez to have no unlawful contact with animals and to surrender any animals in his possession.

“The nature of this violent act toward an animal is indicative of a mindset that troubles me,” Beach said.

On Friday, prosecutors charged two men with felony animal cruelty in unrelated incidents.

Amir Ahmed, 47, was accused of spraying bleach on his six-month-old black Lab mix to “clean” it inside a car on the Near North Side. In Rogers Park, Charles Smith allegedly beat his fiancée’s 12-week-old Miniature Pinscher to death.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com