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Man used rope to drown dog on public beach because the animal had fleas: Police

Shawn Taulbee (Dauphin Island Police Department)

Shawn Taulbee (Dauphin Island Police Department)

A 54-year-old man from Alabama is accused of publicly drowning his dog after he allegedly brought his canine through a popular hiking spot to the beach, walked into the surf, then held the animal’s head underwater for about three minutes as witnesses watched in horror and disbelief.

Shawn Taulbee, who allegedly killed the dog because it was infested with fleas, was taken into custody on Monday and charged with one count of first-degree cruelty to a dog, a felony, authorities confirmed to Law&Crime.

Officers with the Dauphin Island Police Department at around 2 p.m. on July 3 responded to a call from the parking lot of the Audubon Bird Sanctuary regarding a report of an animal being abused, according to a report from Mobile, Alabama NBC affiliate WPMI-TV.

Several witnesses at the scene reportedly told police investigators that the man — later identified as Taulbee — walked his dog from the bird sanctuary parking lot to the boardwalk on the Gulf of Mexico. When Taulbee and the dog reached the shoreline on the east side of the beach, the witnesses told police that Taulbee allegedly used a rope to create a makeshift leash, tied it around the dog’s neck, and started walking into the water, WPMI reported.

After using the rope to drag the animal into the water, the witnesses reportedly told police that Taulbee used the rope to pull the dog in and out of the water several times before finally holding the canine beneath the surface for several minutes.

Dauphin Island Police Detective Jeremy Castile provided some additional details about two witnesses who gave statements to investigators, in an interview with WPMI.

“A couple of other bystanders saw him walk the dog out there (into the surf). All they knew was that the dog went underwater for about three minutes,” he told the station. “And when they walked up, the man was standing over their dog and a couple of other individuals were hollering at him.”

Det. Castile went on to say the witnesses told investigators that when they confronted Taulbee about drowning his dog he had “no remorse” and was “kind of emotionless at the time.”

According to a report from Mobile Fox affiliate WALA-TV, Taulbee said that he drowned the dog because the animal had fleas.

Two of the witnesses at the beach called 911 and police were reportedly able to locate Taulbee and take him into custody a short while later. He was booked at the Mobile County Metro Jail and released the same day after posting $3,000 bond.

Court records show that Taulbee’s only previous history in Mobile, Alabama includes a 2018 citation for failure to signal and a 2014 citation for violating a littering ordinance.

It is unclear if Taulbee has retained an attorney in this case.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.