Firefighter charged with animal cruelty accused of illegally euthanizing a pet

JACKSONVILLE, Florida.Disclaimer: Some may find the details in this article to be graphical in nature. Discretion advised.

A Jacksonville firefighter faces criminal charges after investigators say he illegally euthanized a pet.

Jacob Tomlinson, 35, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, unlawfully discharging a firearm and unlawful euthanasia. Because Tomlinson is a firefighter, his photo ID is exempt from being made public.

Investigators say it was in the backyard of a Mandarin house where Tomlinson brought his dog to perform an illegal act of euthanasia by repeatedly shooting the dog.

A neighbor, who called police and spoke to News4JAX on condition of anonymity, said she was in her room when she heard the gunshots.

“I heard three loud noises. I walked out and that’s when I heard a fourth pop,” she said. “At that time, my dad came out and spoke with the neighbor who owned the house, and he said everything was fine.”

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According to the arrest warrant, the owner of the house was Tomlinson’s father. The woman said she went to her kitchen window to get a better look.

“I saw this white and brown spotted pit bull struggling to stand. It almost looked like he was playing, but then he lay down and started shaking violently,” she said.

She said Tomlinson stood over the dog, then walked away.

“That’s when I started recording, and the dog was just sitting there, shaking violently, and I could see blood pouring out of his chest,” she said.

She said she recorded this video of Tomlinson digging a hole in the ground. Investigators said this is where he buried the dog, and according to the arrest report, the dog may have still been alive when he was buried.

The arrest report says Tomlinson told police he shot and killed the dog because it acted aggressively over the past year and bit four people, including his neighbor earlier in the day after stepping out of the backyard. He also told police he spent a lot of money training his dog.

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“I’m sorry, but there are more humane ways to do it,” the woman said. “There are shelters where he could have taken the dog that would have taken him. He could have euthanized at a veterinarian if he had not been able to go to a shelter. He didn’t need to shoot him four times in the chest and watch him suffer.

An animal control officer took over the investigation and deemed Tomlinson’s actions to be inhumane and unnecessary, then recommended criminal charges.

A spokesperson for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said when personnel face legal issues, they are placed on administrative duty while the matter is investigated.

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