NOKOMIS (FOX 13) - Sarasota County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating a disturbing case of animal cruelty involving the death of a 7-pound Pomeranian.
It happened on June 27 at a home at 112 River Boulevard North in Nokomis. Investigators say one of the three suspects was angry at the dog's owner and decided to take it out on the dog, named Georgie.
"My poor little Georgie girl. I couldn't rescue her," said a heartbroken Sandy Etheridge.
Any pet owner can understand the pain Etheridge is feeling. Her Pomeranian was killed in one of the worst possible ways, allegedly, at the hands of Judy Lamb, Eddie Roden and Mona Gehman.
"She was bleeding, she was suffering, she was tortured," Etheridge said.
Etheridge lived in the same home as Roden and Gehman. Lamb was their landlord.
Deputies were called out to the home for a disturbance last Monday night. A witness reported seeing Judy Lamb and Eddie Roden mishandling the dog, with one carrying it by its neck and the other by its tail.
"Lamb, she was kind of the ring leader," said Lieutenant Daniel Tutko. "Basically, she was upset with the victim. And she wanted to actually kill the victim, knew she couldn't kill the victim, so she decided to take it out on the victim's dog."
According to the affidavit, Lamb tried to strangle the dog but was unsuccessful. So she asked for help.
Gehman told investigators she tried breaking its neck. Roden said he took a shoelace out of a sneaker and wrapped it around the dog's neck. All the while, Etheridge was passed out in a chair.
"It's a heinous act," Tutko said. "This animal is a member of this victim's family and it's just like a child to that person that they've raised, in some cases,from birth."
A necropsy of the dog determined it died as a result of trauma to its head and abdomen.
"They tortured her big time," Etheridge said. "They said we are gonna hurt you. After they killed her, they put her in my lap."
Etheridge was staying with a friend as she recovers from the loss. She said she will never get another dog to replace Georgie.
"Georgie didn't have to suffer. Now, I'm the one suffering," Etheridge said.
Adding another layer of confusion and tragedy to this story, the sheriff's office reported Judy Lamb was found dead in her jail cell Tuesday night from an apparent suicide.
Meanwhile, Mona Gehman has bonded out of jail. She told FOX 13 News she was sorry the dog died, and she didn't want to kill it, but wanted to put it out of its misery.
She and Eddie Roden are charged with animal cruelty.