Homeless Man Charged With Animal Cruelty After Kicking Dog so Hard its Lung Collapsed

August 14, 2019 Updated: August 14, 2019

A transient Southern Californian man has been arrested after kicking a dog about 15 feet into the air on August 9.

Port Hueneme Police arrested and charged Dylan McTaggert with animal cruelty after he allegedly attacked a small dog at the 500 Block of East Surfside Drive in Port Hueneme, 65 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

McTaggert is accused of approaching Sophie from behind and kicking the poor animal so hard she needed urgent veterinary attention at about 1:57 p.m. local time.

“The dog went into shock and was rendered unconscious,” police said on Facebook. “She was diagnosed with having a collapsed lung and displaced heart.”

The victim’s owner claimed the man, who lives near illegal camps on Ormond Beach, attacked Sophie without any provocation. The sick animal is currently resting at home and being cared for by her owner according to police.

Officers initially arrived on the scene after receiving a report of a disturbance involving lifeguards at the beach parking lot C, on the east end of the waterfront.

“[McTaggert was] throwing punches at one of the Port Hueneme Lifeguards,” police said

The suspect allegedly tried to flee the scene by foot and was arrested after a short chase. He is also being charged for fighting in public and assaulting a lifeguard.

It’s not the first time officers have responded to complaints about McTaggert disturbing beachgoers.

“A records check revealed that he is a 290 registrant and on probation for assaulting officers and shoplifting,” police said.

McTaggert has been transported to the Ventura County Jail and was scheduled for arraignment on August 10 at the Ventura County Government Center. He is being held in custody unless he can pay $25,000 for bail.

Police have responded to the incident by dedicating an officer to patrolling the beach area.

Calls for service involving transients creating a disturbance at the beach and citywide have doubled from the previous year according to the department.

A Gofundme campaign has been launched to help ease medical bills for Sophie’s family. The Help Sophie heal fundraiser collected $1,891 of the $1,200 goal in just 19 hours.

Although the family believes it has enough money for surgery, donations will continue to be accepted in case there are more medical expenses in the future.

“It’s a long recovery for Sophie, and I see people are still sharing,” fundraising representative Laura Moder-Smith said in an update.

“Her owner is missing work to care for her; please help if you can … for our fur babies.”

Moder-Smith revealed McTaggert is contesting the charge of animal cruelty in court.

“The attacker did plead not guilty in court,” she said. “Probably under direction from his lawyer … the perpetrator of this unprovoked and vicious attack is still in custody.”

Anyone with information about these incidents is encouraged to contact the Port Hueneme Police Department by phoning 805-986-6530.

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