WASHINGTON — GRAPHIC WARNING: This story contains a description of animal cruelty, and includes video of the incident.
A man is under arrest after DC Police say he was caught on camera kicking a small dog for no reason.
Investigators charged Andrew Taylor, 43, with animal cruelty for kicking a 1.5-year-old Havapoo name Winnie. The owner told WUSA9 she knew something was wrong when her dog yelped from behind her but only realized how bad the experience was when she watched a surveillance video from a nearby business.
An employee of the business posted the video to a community page, which also helped officers track down the suspect who they dealt with on numerous occasions in the past, according to court documents.
The suspect could be seen walking across the street and approaching Winnie standing next to the owner at the corner. Police said the dog was kicked near the stomach area but sustained no injuries.
The dog owner told WUSA9 she took Winnie to get her x-rays done on Thursday at the Humane Rescue Alliance, an organization that investigates animal abuse and cruelty in the District.
HRA said cases like this are rare in the city, but even the incident is shocking.
"This sort of thing doesn't happen," HRA Director of Field Services Daniel D'Emaro said. "I don't want to make it seem like people need to be fearful every time they take their dogs for a walk but it's a good reminder that you don't know what people's intentions are."
As shocking as the incident was on camera, Wayne Pacelle of Animal Wellness Action said it is a reminder why people should report cases against animals to police and alert them of videos.
While unprovoked attacks are highly unusual, there are more people reporting.
"People are increasingly alert to animal welfare and they're reporting animal cruelty and posting videos on social media," Pacelle said. "Prosecutors and police are paying more and more attention. We know animal cruelty is often correlated with domestic violence and other forms of violence. Sometimes the strike against the animal is the first strike and if you don't stop it. then it will graduate to children and to adults."
"It's absolutely nuts," dog owner Dwayne Clayton said as he reacted to the news. "You never know what's going on with a lot of people nowadays."