Alleged Key Largo dog beater to stand trial Aug. 20

A Key Largo man in jail since September on a felony animal cruelty charge for allegedly severely beating his dog stands trial next week.

Jury selection for the state's case against Todd Alexander, 37, is scheduled for Monday morning at the Plantation Key courthouse. His trial is set to begin Thursday, Aug. 20, at 8:30 a.m. in front of County Judge Reagan Ptomey. The trail is scheduled to last until Friday, again, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The dog, named Diamond, was found stuffed in a bag by a motorist on June 22, 2014, along Gun Club Road, on the ocean side of U.S. 1 around mile marker 101.5. It eventually had to be euthanized due to its severe injuries.

Alexander was arrested Sept. 19, nearly two months after the female pit bull was found. The dog was also bound with duct tape. A driver spotted movement inside the black plastic bag.

Marsha Garrettson, head of the Humane Animal Care Coalition, said Diamond was unable to extend her tongue all the way out of her mouth because of jaw injuries and she was missing her canine teeth. The duct tape was fashioned around the dog's neck in a way that would eventually asphyxiate her.

Nevertheless, she never seemed to have lost her desire for human affection. "She was wagging her tail when she was with us, even after suffering through all that abuse," Garrettson said at the time.

But the dog was also suffering from internal bleeding. She was so badly injured that Garrettson's veterinarians at the Key Largo Animal Shelter determined she had to be put down on July 23, 2014. 

The trial is set to start as prosecutors are making their animal cruelty case against a Ramrod Key man who is also accused of savagely beating his pit bull.

Isaac Ellison Ashe, 33, was arrested on July 29 after Monroe County animal control officers determined his dog was in danger of losing its life. Witnesses say Ashe forced the dog's snout shut with electrical tape and repeatedly beat the animal.

Ashe pleaded not guilty on Aug. 4. He posted his $5,000 bond and was freed hours after being arrested. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 2.