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Deputies knock, rifle answers, man is arrested in Dunedin

A pit bullterrier mix rests at Pinellas County Animal Services after being taken from a home in Dunedin, where a man is accused of cruelty.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

A pit bullterrier mix rests at Pinellas County Animal Services after being taken from a home in Dunedin, where a man is accused of cruelty.

DUNEDIN — Cody J. Currie beat his dog with his hands, then fired a rifle round at a door when deputies came knocking at his home Sunday night, authorities say.

The 20-year-old Dunedin man was arrested Sunday night and charged with three felonies: animal cruelty, aggravated assault and discharging a firearm from inside an occupied dwelling.

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies responded to an apartment at 950 Beltrees St. about 9 p.m., after a neighbor said he saw Currie beat a black pit bullterrier mix with an open hand, throw the animal against a window and scream profanities at it.

When the neighbor yelled out for the beating to stop, Currie threatened the witness with a rifle, deputies said. The neighbor called 911.

Deputies took defensive positions around the home and had just knocked on the door when they heard a rifle shot from within the apartment, according to the Sheriff's Office. They later learned a shot had been fired toward the door where a deputy had been standing. The bullet hit the floor, then lodged in a wall inside the apartment, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda.

After verbal commands for anyone inside the apartment to exit, Currie and a second resident came out.

A young man who answered the door at Currie's apartment Monday and declined to be identified said he was asleep during the incident and didn't know what happened.

On Monday, Currie was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $40,000 bail.

Neighbor Debra Losife, who has lived in the complex for 14 years, said Currie and his roommates moved in within the past two years and have been quiet neighbors.

"I'm really surprised," said Losife, 48. "These guys don't bother nobody. They're real respectful."

But another neighbor, who declined to be identified, said Currie was "punching and slapping" the dog before deputies arrived.

The dog was turned over to animal services for evaluation. A second dog in the home — a brown pit bull mix — was also taken by the animal agency.

Animal services director Welch Agnew said the dogs would be held while the Sheriff's Office completes its investigation. The black dog did not have any obvious injuries, Agnew said.

"He's not tender to the touch," Agnew said. "He's walking fine, jumping and moving around."

Rita Farlow can be reached at (727) 445-4162 or [email protected].

Deputies knock, rifle answers, man is arrested in Dunedin 12/29/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 5:15pm]
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