3 To Know: Animal cruelty charges, Motorcyclist hurt
1. Man faces animal cruelty charges
A Naples man faces animal cruelty charges, accused of beating his 5-month-old puppy to death.
Detectives with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Animal Cruelty Investigations Alliance arrested 23-year-old Robert William Garon, 23, Thursday and charged him with the late July incident.
Garon, of the 7500 block of Campania Way, is charged with cruelty to animals causing cruel death, pain or suffering in connection with the beating death of a 5-month-old Goldendoodle named Buzz Lightyear.
'This is one of the worst cases of animal abuse we’ve seen,' Sheriff Rambosk said in a Facebook post . 'No animal should ever have to suffer such a death.'
The sheriff’s office began investigating Aug. 2 after Collier County Domestic Animal Services contacted them about a suspected case of abuse involving the puppy. The investigation showed Garon and his girlfriend brought the injured puppy to the Emergency Pet Hospital, in the 6500 block of Dudley Drive, on July 29.
The puppy lived with the couple. The couple was unable to provide hospital staff with an explanation for the puppy’s injuries, officials said.
The puppy was wet, disoriented, and unable to breathe normally, unable to stand or pick its head up.
Detectives determined that Garon had inflicted the injuries. Garon’s next court date is Sept. 6. – Tomas Rodriguez/Staff
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2. Motorcyclist hurt after car turns into path
A 21-year-old Naples man was seriously injured Friday afternoon after a car collided with his motorcycle.
The crash happened shortly before 1 p.m. near Pelican Bay, according to an incident report from the Florida Highway Patrol. The motorcyclist was traveling south in the center lane of U.S. 41 as he approached Gulf Park Drive.
The car, driven by an 89-year-old Naples man, was traveling north in the left turn lane of U.S. 41 approaching Gulf Park Drive, preparing to turn left.
The sedan made a left turn and drove directly into the motorcycle’s path.
The front of the motorcycle struck the car’s right front corner.
The motorcyclist was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. The other motorist suffered minor injuries. Troopers continue to investigate the crash. – Tomas Rodriguez/Staff
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3. Popular restaurant owners launch fundraiser to help out employees
Following a recent fire, an iconic Sanibel Island restaurant is collecting donations. However, the business isn’t the direct beneficiary.
The Island Cow has set up a fundraiser through a local nonprofit, Put It On Pete’s Tab Inc., which supports people struggling in the hospitality industry.
Unlike GoFundMe, all funds raised will go directly to their employees, the restaurant wrote in a Facebook post.
All donations are tax-deductible. Owners Brian and Elke Podlasek will match every donation, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000, they wrote.
“We truly appreciate all who have reached out to share concerns and heartfelt condolences following the fire,” the post reads. “Many have asked what they can do. Our biggest need is support for our staff who are now facing unemployment. Please rally with us to #HelptheHerd!”
As of noon Saturday, they collected nearly $17,000 out of their $250,000 goal.
Sanibel Fire Department crews were at the scene Sunday to assess damage and continue any firefighting operations. No injuries were reported.
Sanibel firefighters arrived around 11 p.m. Saturday and entered the building but flames grew quickly and they were forced to exit when conditions became unsafe, officials said.
Sanibel fire officials and the state fire marshal took over the investigation.
A former employee who had worked at the restaurant with her husband for more than 15 years and lives nearby, told The News-Press the restaurant’s owners informed her that the fire was likely a grease fire.
The local family-owned business has been operating on the island for more than 15 years and was a popular stop for tourists and locals alike.
The Island Cow was especially popular because it was one of a handful of restaurants that allowed patrons to bring along their furry and leashed pals.
In 2018, former Vice President Mike Pence, a frequent Sanibel visitor, was spotted stopping in for a bite. – Tomas Rodriguez/Staff
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