A girl seen throwing her family dog off the Blue Heron Boulevard Bridge in Riviera Beach said she did so “cause dogs can fly,” witnesses told Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies.
BJ, an 8-year-old Jack Russell terrier mix, is in a lot of pain but stable after a 40- to 50-foot fall off the bridge about 3:40 p.m. Wednesday at Phil Foster Park.
“It doesn’t appear he has anything broken,” Palm Beach Animal Care and Control spokesman Capt. David Walesky said. “It’s possible the extra weight helped him out a little bit. It’s surprising he doesn’t have any more injuries.”
BJ weighs about 30 pounds, while the average weight for a Jack Russell is 18 pounds. Walesky said the extra weight could be from the mix with another unknown breed. He was taken to an overnight emergency clinic but is back at the Animal Care and Control facility, where the dog will stay for the time being, Walesky said.
BJ was adopted from animal care and control in 2010 by the girl’s family, Walesky said.
Deputies called to a report of animal cruelty found the dog on the beach; “clearly in distress, pain, was whining and struggling to move,”; according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
A lifeguard on the beach comforted the dog until help arrived.
“It did attempt to sit up. It was yelping really badly,” said one witness, Laura Weinberger. “We had to turn away. It was just horrible to see a dog in so much pain and shock. But it did seem as though it was trying to sit up.”
The girl who tossed the dog off the bridge later laughed; took off her clothes and went into the water, witnesses said.
The sheriff’s office plans to charge the girl, who was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.
Animal Care and Control says that if the owners give up the dog, BJ will be put up for adoption or sent to a rescue facility.