Dogster’s Bonehead of the Week: The Jerk Who Branded His Dog

And the brand is only one of the many ways he's mistreated his dog. "Bonehead" may be too kind a term for this one.


This week’s Bonehead of the Week is Jacob Bustin-Pitts, who received a misdemeanor citation for animal cruelty when he showed up at Lee County Domestic Animal Services in Florida to claim his dog.

The pup, named Redman, was brought into the facility some time ago, though we don’t know by who. What we do know is that the dog had a host of problems and issues, the foremost of which was a brand.

Yes, Bustin-Pitts had branded his dog. Animal services said the brand was similar to the type used on cattle.

“It’s still bleeding from areas around the brand,” said Glenn Johnson of Lee County Domestic Animal Services, according to

Redman was also “extremely underweight” with “v-shaped notches in both ears and a docked tail.”

When Bustin-Pitts came to animal services to pick up his dog, the concerned staff learned more about how he’d been mistreating Redman.

  • He said he had never taken the dog to a veterinarian.
  • He said he used a staple gun to close wounds on the dog’s body.
  • He said he kept the dog “lean” as part of his “working dog” nature.

And that’s on top of the branding, ear cropping, and tail docking, all done by Bustin-Pitts at home.

Bustin-Pitts has one defender: his roommate.

“We keep the dog here. I see him feed the dog every day, but he runs around so much, he works a lot of it off,” said Jackie Palmore. “He’s a cowboy and it’s a cowdog and that’s how they run the cows.”

Suzanne Vazzana, animal services veterinarian, says that branding is considered to be animal cruelty, as “considerable pain and suffering would be inflicted on the animal during the procedure and as the injury healed.”

The agency also says that “suturing wounds, cropping ears or docking tails should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian.”

As for Redman, with any luck he might be headed to a new home, as animal services is petitioning the court for custody of the dog, according to Glenn Johnson.

“Somebody that will care for him and take care of him and get him back to the weight he should be,” he said.

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