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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2017
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St. Pete man charged with beating pit bull puppy

ST. PETERSBURG - A 51-year-old St. Petersburg man was arrested this morning on charges that he repeatedly beat his pit bull puppy over a month's time, sometimes with a hammer handle, police say. Terry Watts was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on one count of animal cruelty, according to jail records. He was being held on $5,000 bail. Watts' roommate told a friend Tuesday that Watts had grabbed the pit bull and beat it repeatedly at least 20 times over the past month, St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt said. The friend contacted police. Police were told Watts beat the dog because the dog urinated on the floor, Proffitt said. Other times there appeared to be no reason for striking the dog, Proffitt said.
When an officer went to Watts' house, at 4029 12th Ave. N., she found blood on the floor next to a dog crate, Proffitt said, though the animal did not appear injured. A hammer handle was confiscated as part of the investigation, but there is no indication in a police report that the dog was taken into custody, Proffitt said. The officer later filled out paperwork calling for Watts' arrest, Proffitt said. Police were called to the house this morning by Watts, who said his roommate wouldn't let him in, Proffitt said. The roommate told police Watts was wanted on a charge of animal cruelty, and Watts was arrested.

Reporter Stephen Thompson can be reached at (727) 451-2336.

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