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    2 pit bulls dragged by car, 1 injured

    A Palm Harbor man is charged with one felony count of animal cruelty. He told officers he was disciplining his dogs.

    [Times photos: Douglas Clifford]
    Bruno rests in a holding room Tuesday before technicians changed dressings on his paws.

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published April 23, 2003

    PALM HARBOR -- He tried walking them with his bicycle, but they kept stopping and refused to keep up.
    So George Jaworowsky, 46, returned home to get his car, Pinellas sheriff's officials say.

    He rolled the window down, held the leashes out and proceeded to drag his two red-nosed American pit bullterriers for two blocks down the street, sheriff's spokesman Detective Tim Goodman said.

    "There was blood on the roadway," Goodman said. "The dogs kept falling and were rolling on the gravel road."

    One of the dogs, a male named Bruno, had the pads on its feet worn down to the bone. Jaworowsky was charged with one felony count of animal cruelty.

    The incident occurred about 5 p.m. Monday in the Groves subdivision off Alderman Road in Palm Harbor. A witness saw Jaworowsky holding the leashes for the two dogs out the driver's window of his white Ford Taurus as he drove on Robinwood Lane and Regal Oaks Boulevard.
    Medical technician Alison Lynch hugs Bruno as dressings on the dog's paws are changed.
    "The person saw George get out of the car," Goodman said. "George was yelling at the dogs and he used his right hand to strike one of the dogs. He was cursing at the dogs. The (witness) heard the dogs yelp."

    The witness told Jaworowsky that "the dogs looked tired and beaten," Goodman said. But Jaworowsky got back in his car and drove off, still dragging the dogs from the window.

    The deputy who responded to the scene followed the trail of bloody paw prints and pieces of brown fur into the garage at 2872 Spring Oak Court, Jaworowsky's home.

    "He got to the garage and he noticed bloody paw prints on the garage floor, and a bloody white and black dog leash lying on the ground," Goodman said.

    Bruno and Susie, both around 6 months old, were found inside the garage in a metal cage. Bruno's paws were wrapped in duct tape to the middle of his legs. The dog tried to stand but could not and was lying on its side because the pads on its feet were so badly injured.

    Susie was not injured.

    Both were taken to Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Service on Belcher Road. The dogs were then turned over to the Humane Society of North Pinellas.

    "Bruno's in a lot of pain," said Rick Chaboudy, director of the Humane Society of North Pinellas. "Pain management is one of the biggest things right now, and, of course, concern with infection."

    Jaworowsky, who was released from the Pinellas County Jail after posting $5,000 bail, did not return calls for comment or two messages left at his home. A car sat in the driveway Monday afternoon.

    Goodman said Jaworowsky told deputies he was "attempting to train the dogs, but he says he was wrong for what he did."

    "When (deputies) interviewed George, they asked him if he ever stopped and hit the dogs," Goodman said. "He said he did and that it was a form of discipline. He said he was doing it to get the dogs in shape."

    Chaboudy said the shelter has since discovered Bruno was involved in a previous dragging incident with a family member on inline skates.

    "That type of thing is very dangerous," he said. "Sometimes people run their dogs on bicycles and Rollerblades. In many ways it can be dangerous to the person. I cannot possibly even imagine how people think some of these types of things like running a dog along a car is actually okay."
    Surgery technician Anna Ellis gets a friendly lick from Susie.

    Chaboudy said it appears Jaworowsky obtained the dogs sometime in January. Bruno and Susie have been spayed and neutered and their vaccinations are up to date.

    He said he talked to Jaworowsky Monday about giving the dogs up, but he refused. Chaboudy said the shelter would seek custody of the dogs.

    In the meantime, Bruno and Susie are "happy, friendly dogs," he said. Susie weighs about 45 pounds and Bruno is about 50 pounds. The dogs are believed to be brother and sister.

    "Right now, what we're telling people is they are not ours," he said. "We do not have custody of the dogs. At this point in time we don't know when we'll have custody of them. But we are seeking custody of them."

    -- Megan Scott can be reached at (727) 445-4183 or .

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