Wendy Lawrence, 29, is still in shock after witnessing her neighbor, 61-year-old Juan Ramirez thrust his fingers into a dog's rectum.
Lawrence told The Ledger-Enquirer Thursday that she and her 11-year-old daughter are still having a hard time coping after Ramirez allegedly violated her sister's pitbull, Monte, early Wednesday morning.
"It's stuck in there, and I can't get it out of my head," Lawrence said. "It was sickening."
Lawrence said Ramirez, a neighborhood friend, had come over to her house on Benning Drive Tuesday evening while she and her mother were cooking barbecued chicken. Ramirez had been drinking that night.
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Lawrence's sister had temporarily left Monte at her house, and she was allowing him to run around in the front yard to get exercise.
At about midnight, after Ramirez seemed to have left and while Lawrence was cleaning the bathroom, her daughter ran up to her, clearly distraught. She told her mother that she heard Monte yelp, and when she went to look, she saw Ramirez thrusting his index and middle fingers into the dog's rectum.
"She came up to me and was jumping up and down holding her mouth," Lawrence said. "Sometimes when somebody tells you something, it just doesn't register in your head. I had to go look out the window to see if he would do it again."
With her boyfriend, Lawrence went to the window and saw Monte standing near the fence to the back yard, hanging his head and acting like he wanted to be let into the back yard. Ramirez coerced the dog back onto the porch, grabbed his tail and proceeded to repeat the act.
Lawrence said while Ramirez was preforming the act, he had a blank expression.
"I ran out the door and yelled 'What the (expletive) are you doing?'" she said. "He started walking back to his house and kept saying, 'No, nothing. No, nothing.'"
After Ramirez stopped, Monte fell onto the porch. He was leaking blood and fecal matter from the injured area.
Police arrived not long after midnight, according to the report. Lawrence said officers were able to respond quickly because she lives near a precinct.
"They didn't act like they didn't believe me," she said. "They were just shocked. Even the police said (Monte) should have turned around and bit (Ramirez), and I said, 'I kinda wish he would have.'"
Officers told Lawrence it was obvious Ramirez had committed the crime when he opened the door.
"He obviously didn't wash his hands after he went home," she said. "The officers, when they opened the door, they said his fingers were still brown and you could still smell poop on him."
According to the report, the dog appeared to have redness, swelling and some bleeding in the injured area. When police spoke to Ramirez, he denied the incident.
Ramirez was booked in the Muscogee County Jail at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Muscogee County Jail records. He was released on a $500 bond at 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Lawrence said her sister has been unable to sleep since the incident. Her sister has owned Monte since he was 10 weeks old, after he followed her into a gas station. She was unable to find the owner, and has raised him ever since.
"Monte, he's a big goofball," Lawrence said. "If you didn't know him, and he came charging at you, you would get scared because he's so big. But as soon as he meets you, you are his friend. When we get a dog, we treat them as family members. We really care about animals."
Since the incident, Monte has seemed less playful and has acted afraid around people, she said.
"(Monte) has never done that before," Lawrence said. "I don't really like putting people in jail. But what (Ramirez) did, I felt like, he deserved it. The way he did it, he didn't seem to care. If you'll do that to a dog, then you'll do it to a child."