Neighbors shocked when abused puppy is returned to owner

A 20-year-old Jacksonville man seen in a Facebook video yelling at a puppy, smacking her and picking her up by the neck was charged with animal cruelty in March. 

After neighbors were shocked to learn the man paid a $500 fine and got his dog back, they are circulating a petition seeking to have the punishment increased for those who abuse animals.

The video, taken through a fence by Matthew Long’s neighbor, is graphic. The neighbor reported his actions, and her video was used as evidence in court.

That woman and other neighbors were surprised and concerned when they saw the beagle-hound-mix puppy named Fiona back at the Long’s home.

“I truly would rather just beat him instead, because I think that’s more appropriate,” the unnamed neighbor told News4Jax. “I don’t think he understands (that) the dog doesn’t understand.”

Judge Gary Flower’s office responded to questions about his decision to return the dog to Long. A spokesman said that the dog was returned on condition that Long complete an anger-management course, attend obedience classes with Fiona, write a letter of apology to the dog, pay $1,015 to the city for boarding and caring for the dog and violating the animal ordinance.

Misdemeanor animal abuse is punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine is $5,000.


Long didn’t answer the door when News4Jax tried to talk to him Tuesday. Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services did not respond to a request for a comment.

“Even now, I’m hearing it. (I) absolutely don’t think anyone who treats a dog that we should ever have a dog I don’t think they should have to go to training I just don’t think they should have a dog some people just aren’t made for it,” the unnamed neighbor said.

Founder of a local hound rescue, Swamp Haven Rescue, said the way Long handled Fiona is never useful.

“It’s proven that fear-based training just doesn’t work,” Lindsey Kelley said. “Trying to put fear into an animal, you’re never going to get the response that you want — except they are afraid of you.”

The neighbors are encouraging people to read and consider signing a petition seeking to “to impose stricter, harsher punishment and penalties in the event of the abuse, torture, and killing of innocent animals.”


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Man rescued after boat sinks near Black Point Marina

A man was rescued Tuesday after his boat sank near the Black Point Marina.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Felipe Lay said rescuers received word about a boat that was taking on water near the Black Point Marina channel about 1:30 p.m.

When rescuers arrived, they found the man sitting on the side of the sunken boat, which had become grounded and was sticking out of the water.

Lay said the man wasn’t able to swim to the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue boat because of his health and age, so rescuers swam to him and helped him to safety.

A mechanical issue apparently caused the boat to fill with water.

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Baby born on Spirit Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale

A woman gave birth to a baby boy on a recent Spirit Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale to Dallas.

Christina Penton was 36 weeks pregnant when she told flight attendants that she wasn’t feeling well.

“Everything started happening very quickly,” Penton said. “I didn’t think I was having the baby, because it was too soon, but after a few minutes, I knew I needed medical attention. The flight attendants contacted doctors on the ground, and they advised the flight attendants to see if there were any medical personnel on board.  As it turned out, there was a pediatrician and a nurse.  Soon after that, it was clear I was having my baby, and I was in pure panic.”

The flight was diverted to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, but the baby was born before the plane landed.

Christoph Lezcano weighed in at 7 pounds and was 19.5 inches tall.

Penton and her newborn son were taken to a hospital in Kenner, Louisiana, as a precaution. Both mother and baby are OK.

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There’s still no jury for Martin Shkreli trial

Martin Shkreli is going on trial to face charges that he bilked investors.

But it’s taking a while to find a jury.

Shkreli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, made headlines when he unapologetically hiked the price of a life-saving drug in 2015. His decision to increase the cost of Daraprim, which is used by AIDS patients, from $13.50 to $750 per pill was met with widespread outrage.

The criminal case against him in Brooklyn federal court is unrelated to that controversy.

Shkreli, 34, faces charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy for allegedly cheating investors out of more than $11 million between 2009 and 2014 in what federal prosecutors called a Ponzi scheme.

But Shkreli’s broader antics appear to have complicated jury selection. After two days, the pool of prospective jurors was down to 47, from about 240 when jury selection began on Monday.

Some prospective jurors were dismissed because of “strong views on Martin Shkreli,” Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said. Shkreli’s lawyer Ben Brafman said many more were excused because they had conflicting plans, health problems or family issues.

In court, Brafman railed against coverage from the New York Post in particular, which he said had portrayed his client as a “reviled price gouger.” The Post put a picture of Shkreli on the cover Tuesday and said of the jurors who were excused: “They all hate him.”

Shkreli, of course, has done plenty to raise his own profile.

He’s repeatedly boasted about his wealth on live streams from his Manhattan apartment and received significant attention when he reportedly bought an unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million before his arrest.

Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison if he’s convicted in the fraud case.

He’s accused of mismanaging money at his investment funds Elea Capital, MSMB Capital, MSMB Healthcare, as well as while he was CEO of Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company he founded in 2011.

Prosecutors say Shkreli lied to investors at MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare about the performance and assets of the investment funds, and that he used money from Retrophin to pay off MSMB investors, as well as his personal loans and other debts.

–CNNMoney’s Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.

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FBI finds the car a missing Chinese grad student was seen entering

The last known sighting of 26-year-old graduate student Yingying Zhang was on the afternoon of June 9. Security camera footage released by the University of Illinois — where Zhang was studying — shows the visiting Chinese scholar getting into the pas…

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