UPDATE 2: Sweeney decided not to talk on the record about the case because he’s facing a felony charge. His son, Zak, spoke on his father’s behalf, though.
Zak Sweeney said his father is a good man who has never been cruel to Daisy, who is known to chew off retail muzzles the family uses to try to control her barking.
The dog is a 2-year-old Doberman pinscher Zak Sweeney bought as a puppy.
Daisy always has access to shade, food and water and is groomed once a month, Zak Sweeney said. He showed a reporter a video he took of the family’s backyard. The video shows several areas of shade, including a covered picnic table that Zak Sweeney said Daisy likes to lie on and under.
He disputed the assertion that the dog was taped for four hours, saying he left to run an errand about noon Friday and got a call an hour later saying his father was being arrested and his dog confiscated.
“There’s nothing wrong with the dog,” said Zak Sweeney, 23. “The dog was fine.”
UPDATE: Reached by phone Wednesday morning, Sweeney called the charge against him “so wrong.” He said he’s hired a lawyer to fight the charge. He’s made an appointment to come to the TNT later today to tell his side of the story.
PREVIOUS POST: Pierce County prosecutors this week charged a Gig Harbor man with felony animal cruelty for allegedly duct-taping his dog’s mouth shut to get the animal to stop barking.
Paul G. Sweeney, 57, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Pierce County Superior Court and was released on his own recognizance pending trial. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley prohibited Sweeney from owning animals until the case is resolved.
Sweeney came to the attention of authorities Monday when a passerby spotted the dog, Daisy, in the backyard of Sweeney’s home, court records show. The witness told police the animal’s snout was taped shut, that the dog also had tape around its front legs and that Daisy “was foaming at the mouth, the records show.
A sheriff’s deputy dispatched to the scene found the dog lying on the ground with duct tape “wrapped several times” around its snout. The dog’s paws also were taped.
The deputy confronted Sweeney, who allegedly said he taped the dog’s mouth shut to keep it from barking and its paws to keep it from digging in the yard.
Th deputy wrote in a report that Sweeney’s yard “is not at all, and never has been (from any of my previous visits), ‘well-maintained,’” court records show.
The deputy stood by while Sweeney removed the tape. The dog whimpered in pain throughout the procedure, records state.
A county animal control officer, after advising Sweeney of his rights, asked how long Daisy had been taped.
“About four hours,” Sweeney replied, according to the court records. Sweeney added he’d taped the dog’s mouth shut once or twice before, the records show.
The animal control officer noted in a report that Daisy had been left in the full sun on a day where temperatures reached into the mid-70s with no ability to drink water. Foaming at the mouth is a sign of heat stroke in dogs, the officer added.
Daisy recovered well after some water and rest in an air-conditioned room, court records show.