Hozae Milton's neighbors in Jacksonville came home last week to a truly disturbing sight: the 43-year-old was skinning a dog right in the front yard of his one-story brick house. When police later came to investigate, they found that poor canine wasn't alone. Milton had also recently skinned a cat, and gruesome evidence inside his house suggested other neighborhood animals had met the same fate.
"He always had pets growing up, both dogs and cats. He loved them," Milton's dad, Ronnie, told a local TV station. "It's really ... I find it unbelievable."
Milton, who lives near the heart of central Jacksonville, first caught the police's attention last Thursday, when his neighbors spotted his front-yard skinning session.
When police arrived and asked him about the incident, Milton laughed and said, "It must not have been me," reports News4Jax.
Cops then searched the house, though, and found a gruesome scene. Milton had numerous "animal tails," rib bones, an eyeball in a plastic bottle and containers of meat in his freezer. Out back, they found dog and cat pelts hanging from a fence and several dog paws.
When they told Milton he was under arrest, he reportedly screamed, spit at the cops and tried to resist.
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"We knew that he had some issues, and we tried to help him as much as possible," his dad tells the TV station. "I don't know what brought him to this point."
Milton has had several run ins with the law over the years, based on Riptide's records search. He pleaded guilty in 2001 to a count of unnatural and lascivious acts, and to indecent exposure the year before. Back in 1989, he was convicted of possessing cocaine with a firearm. And in more recent years, he's faced numerous charges of trespassing and resisting arrest without violence, though most of those charges were dropped.
He's now charged with killing a dog or cat with the intent to sell or give away the pelt and cruelty to animals.