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Brooksville man charged with breaking into Animal Services to retrieve dogs

BROOKSVILLE — Michael Lee Bell just wanted to bring Precious and Lover Boy home, but the 54-year-old Brooksville man broke the law to do it, authorities say.

Hernando County Animal Services took custody of the dogs — a mix of pug, bulldog and chow — on Saturday after Bell tied them to a pole outside the RaceTrac gas station at 16129 Cortez Blvd. while he bought beer and then forgot about them, according to a Sheriff's Office report.

On Sunday, Bell crawled underneath a fence at the Animal Services compound on Oliver Street in Brooksville, broke into the building and took the dogs from an unlocked kennel. He then walked to a nearby Walmart, where his wife was waiting to pick them up, deputies said.

"The defendant stated he 'just wanted to get his babies back,' " the report said.

Bell said an Animal Services worker told him he would have to pay $350 to get the dogs back, and he didn't think he should have to pay that, the report said.

Deputies arrested him on a charge of commercial burglary. On the way to the Hernando County Detention Center, Bell yelled expletives at Deputy Nicole Stevens and threatened to kill her, the report said.

Bell was being held Monday in lieu of $5,000 bail. He has convictions in Hernando County for battery, burglary and grand theft, court records show.

Brooksville man charged with breaking into Animal Services to retrieve dogs 08/12/13 [Last modified: Monday, August 12, 2013 7:50pm]
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