Ocala Man Beats, Stabs Dog, Neighbors Intervene
Published April 28th, 2014
Some people might find these pictures graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.
He wasn't his dog's best friend.
A brutal case of animal cruelty has a neighborhood in northwest Ocala reeling.
Investigators say a man came home from a bar Sunday afternoon, broke into his own house, and started beating and stabbing his own dog within an inch of her life.
Neighbors came to the dog's rescue.
"To hear those sounds, you just don't ever want to hear those sounds," said neighbor and witness Beth Bailey.
Beth and David Bailey live directly across the street from Steven Fleming, his girlfriend Judy and their dog Molly.
But Sunday afternoon, they called 911 when they heard a dog howling in Fleming's house.
"He really injured that dog terribly and viciously," said witness David Bailey.
Ocala police say Fleming had a fight with his girlfriend at the Snow Birds Tavern and he left the bar and returned home.
Fleming started yelling and breaking his own windows.
"Witnesses say that Fleming took a piece of board to try to break into his own house," said Lauren Lettelier, TV20 News.
Once he broke in, police say his rampage against his dog Molly started.
He took her to the bathroom and stabbed her in the head three times.
She kept trying to get away but he kept dragging her back in.
He then beat her with a baseball bat so hard that he broke it in two.
Neighbors distracted Fleming enough to delay any further beating until police arrived.
"It was almost like a lynch mob brutality out here. They were shrieking and threatening and it was like no holding them back,"said David."I've never seen anything like this before in my life."
"We've lived next door to him for ten years and this is not the man we moved in next door to," said Beth.
Marion County Animal Services says Molly has a fractured skull.
We're told she is currently in stable condition and is being closely monitored.
Fleming has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty and with resisting without violence, after he ran from police.
He's being held with no bond because of a probation violation for cocaine possession.
Fleming declined a jailhouse interview with TV20.
"She's a sweet, sweet dog," said David Bailey.
"To show this kind of violence toward an animal, God only knows what kind of violence could be shown towards another person," said Ocala Police Department Spokesperson Sgt. Angy Scroble.
After seeing the dog's condition, police became concerned for Fleming's girlfriend, Judy Rangle.
Police found her lying under a tree outside of the Snow Bird's Tavern.
She had passed out from intoxication.
Rangle was later taken in under the Marchman Act and has been placed in The Centers mental health facility.
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