A Chicago man pleaded guilty this week to torturing an Australian Shepherd mix while working as a dog watcher in Lincoln Square last year. Freddie Rodriguez, 47, received a four-year prison sentence.
Prosecutors said Rodriguez, a long-time employee and overnight dog watcher at a facility in the 5000 block of North Western, used a shoe and a broomstick to attack the dog on October 25, 2021.
Surveillance video from the dog care facility 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.
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. Prosecutors said during Rodriguez’s initial bail hearing that he then grabbed a wooden broom, cornered the dog, and struck it repeatedly until the broom broke.
The dog ran under a bed. When it came out, Rodriguez allegedly grabbed the broken broom handle, backed the dog into a corner, and struck it with the handle. The attack fractured the radius and ulna in one of the dog’s legs.
“Yeah, I broke the leg,” Rodriguez exclaimed as a prosecutor laid out the charges against him last November.
Because of the injuries, the dog could only walk on three legs, according to prosecutors, 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.
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 a court hearing last year.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty on Tuesday and was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Shelley Sutker-Dermer. Prosecutors dropped an aggravated cruelty to animals charge in their plea agreement with Rodriguez.
He reported to the Stateville Correctional Center on Thursday. Under state law, his sentence will be reduced by 50% for good behavior, and he received 415 days of credit for time spent in custody after being arrested. While the Illinois Department of Corrections has not announced Rodriguez’s scheduled parole date, he will likely be released in about 315 days.