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    Cruelty charge adds to month of notoriety

    Deputies say the New Port Richey man who let a 7-year-old drive is now charged in a hammer attack on a dog.

    By BRADY DENNIS, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published March 23, 2002


    NEW PORT RICHEY -- Barry Colbert's troubles keep mounting.

    Pasco County sheriff's deputies on Friday charged the 39-year-old New Port Richey man with felony animal cruelty after he attacked his girlfriend's dog with a hammer on March 15, according to a sheriff's report.

    Neighbors found the dog, Buster, alive near a tree. The boxer-mix dog was "severely beaten," according to the report. The dog had a bad head wound, its left eye was severely damaged, its jaw was broken and the dog appeared malnourished, the report stated.

    Despite the attack, Buster lived.

    The same day as the attack on Buster, a deputy called to Colbert's house on Smokey Lake Loop saw Colbert straddling Jacki Clever in the front yard, punching her in the face. The deputy ordered Colbert to put his hands in the air, but he swore at the deputy and walked away, according to the deputy's report.

    Colbert was arrested; Clever was put on a helicopter and sent to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

    Colbert's run-ins with law enforcement began Feb. 16, when he said he let his girlfriend's 7-year-old son drive his car. The boy, who used inline skates to prop himself up in the seat, got into an accident. Colbert, who was sitting in the passenger seat, admitted he had been drinking and was arrested.

    Within a week, investigators removed the 7-year-old boy and Colbert's 3-year-old son from the household after officials found marijuana and drug paraphernalia inside. Colbert was arrested again.

    He told the Times he was giving the investigators a tour when he opened a cabinet to show them rice and beans, only to reveal a water pipe used to smoke marijuana.

    Colbert remained in Land O'Lakes jail Friday in lieu of $11,500 bail.

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    Dog beating added to inmate's troubles

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