LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) – Two months after being arrested for torturing an animal, a Lufkin man said on Wednesday he has voluntarily surrendered two of his three dogs, including one that was featured in a viral video.
Lorenzo Johnson, 56, was arrested on June 22 after a video went viral of a dog being whipped in a Lufkin yard, and on June 29, his bond conditions were amended after a veterinary report found no signs of abuse, according to officials.
Originally, Johnson’s bond conditions prohibited him from owning or having contact with both livestock and non-livestock animals. The amended condition said “the three seized dogs were returned to the defendant via verbal orders and with the conditions that the dogs be vaccinated and all medical issues and needs be complied with.”
The court met a month later to assess if Johnson had complied with the new bond conditions, and a second request for extension was made after the dogs tested positive for heartworms and were found to have issues with dry skin.
In a status hearing on Wednesday, Johnson said he has surrendered his two female dogs, including the dog featured in the video, after realizing he could not afford to care for them. Johnson still has custody of a male dog, Big Boy, and officials said he has been cleared of all medical issues by the vet and is currently on heartworm medications.
A prosecutor from the county attorney’s office said two dogs were surrendered to the veterinarian, who then surrendered the dogs to a nonprofit. A follow up appointment is scheduled for Big Boy in six months, and Judge Donnie Puckett said the case will be postponed until the vet releases an assessment on the dog’s six month progress.
“I hate to keep postponing this but it’s critical for the welfare of the animal, and even though [Johnson] surrendered those two, we want to make sure that the male he still has is being properly cared for whether it’s in [Johnson’s] custody or somebody else’s,” Puckett said. “This court is looking at the best interest of the animal and nothing else.”
The court granted the case a six month extension until an assessment from a certified veterinarian is received, and the court, prosecution, animal control and the family can review it.
“We want to make sure that the dog is properly cared for, and we want to make sure that you continue your payments for the medical intervention on the dog. It would be premature to shut this case down right now,” Puckett said. “What we want to do and we’re going to do is whatever the court decides is in the best interest of the animal, and not of anybody else.”