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Tampa teenager pleads guilty in case of dog tied to railroad tracks

TAMPA — The teenager accused of shooting a dog, tying it to railroad tracks and leaving it for dead last March was sentenced Wednesday to seven months in the county jail and barred from going anywhere near animals.

"You're to have no contact with animals," Hillsborough Circuit Judge Lisa Campbell told Natwan Callaway, 17, his eyes downcast and shoulders slumped. "That's any animal. I don't care if it's a fish."

The 2-year-old pit bull mix, which was later named Cabela by the Tampa police officers who rescued her, survived her encounter with Callaway and three other young men. After recovering from surgery, she was placed with a foster family and has since become a minor celebrity within Tampa Bay's animal rescue community.

The four young men charged with abusing her include her owners, brothers Kenny Bell, 22, and Darnell Devlin, 18, neither of whom were directly implicated in the attempt to kill her but were accused by prosecutors of using her in dogfights.

In May, Bell was sentenced to four years of probation and 150 hours of community service. The judge ordered him to pay $1,000 in restitution to Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Services. Devlin took a similar deal, agreeing to a year of community control and three years' probation, as well as a $1,000 veterinary bill.

Another suspect, 17-year-old Bobby Hollinger, has been charged with trespassing on the CSX tracks and abandonment of an animal. As he is being treated as a juvenile, the records of his case are confidential, but the charges against him are pending.

Police say Hollinger was the first to shoot at Cabela, but she ran from him into a wooded area and returned home. Hollinger and Callaway caught her, brought her back to the tracks in Sulphur Springs and tied her leash to a pole next to the tracks. According to prosecutor Nicholas Glance, it was Callaway who shot the dog three times.

Charged as an adult, Callaway pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of aggravated cruelty to animals, armed trespassing and being a minor in possession of a firearm. With credit for time served, he could be released from jail in weeks, at which point he will be placed on probation for several years. Prosecutors said Callaway will be released with a GPS monitor and will have to adhere to a curfew and find a part-time job.

Contact Anna M. Phillips at or (813) 226-3354. Follow @annamphillips.