By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
Just after lunchtime Tuesday, September 18, Miami Police Det. Gary Jackson arrived at Curtis Park in Allapattah to investigate a crime. It wasn't a typical purse snatching or pick-up football brawl. What he found must have shocked him.
Two city park employees sat Jackson down and described the following: While picking fruit in the urban park's southeast corner, they heard a stray dog yelping from inside a ticket booth. Curious, they peeked. There they saw 69-year-old City of Miami park groundskeeper Fernando A. Fernandez with his "pants unfastened, kneeling to conceal himself," according to a police report. His trousers were pulled down enough that his "buttocks were exposed."
Jackson learned it wasn't the first time Fernandez had been caught in what appeared to be a one-way romance with a canine. Park laborer Elier Paez told the detective he'd seen Fernandez — with his pants undone — in an equipment shed with a dog six months earlier. Paez claimed he had watched the poor mutt scamper off with "what appeared to be blood on [its] backside."
It got weirder. The cop decided to investigate the crime like a conventional rape. Since none of the witnesses had actually seen "sexual contact," he gathered some dog hair and asked Fernandez for a DNA sample. The groundskeeper refused. The animal was then transported to a shelter.
Fernandez, who has since been suspended with pay, has no criminal record.
The investigation continues, but it's unclear whether it will go anywhere. The dog, after all, can't exactly serve as a witness.