It was about 7:00 a.m. on June 19, and Robert Monk’s tenth wedding anniversary when he found himself on the stoop of his Miami Beach house in his skivvies with three strangers.
They were two big, gruff guys and a blond with a badge. They all stood there for a half-hour. Then the trio let Monks put some clothes on and cuffed him.
It was all over a dog.
Back in the early 1990’s, Monks, now a 39-year-old office manager, got nabbed for drunk driving in Sarasota County. He spent a night in the slammer and was put on probation for a year, he said. He didn’t realize he had violated it until June 19. That is, 14 years later.
Sarasota court records show Monks linked to a 1992 drunk driving case and three 1993 cases. All cases are tagged: closed.
In 2003, Monks and his wife moved to California, where – in 2004 – a breeder gave them an almost two-year-old Malamute. His name was Axel.
Last year, the couple moved to the beach bungalow in the 8000 block of Byron Avenue. A search of Miami-Dade court records show zero cases linked to Monks.
Apparently, Monks explains, the breeder changed her mind about the gift of the dog. So she reported him to police.
And that’s how the plainclothes whatever-they-were barged into the beach bungalow Monks shares with his wife Jane without telling him why or showing him any papers, he says.
“Next thing I hear is, ‘The dog’s here.’… The one cop grabs the dog by the collar and I’m like, ‘Hey don’t grab my dog like that. He’s very mellow and gentle,’” Monks says.
After standing outside in his skivvies, then putting his close on, he sat outside in the “hot as shit” sun three hours while a parade of probation officers and local law enforcers went in and out of his home like the Statsi. Then, a “mystery woman” showed up and took the pup that he and his wife Jane call their son.
They say they were told: “The LAPD has an interest in your dog.”
“It was this half-assed subversive bullshit,” Monks explains. “They wouldn’t show me anything.”
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Miami-Dade Police arrested Monks at eleven that morning. He was let out of jail around 9:30 p.m. after his wife coughed up $1,282.50 in bond.
Monks says the breeder never gave him papers for five-year-old Axel. But he’s no show dog, the couple says. He has hip problems. “People steal a quarter-million dollar cars and [get away with it,]” he says. “All of a sudden, holy shit, somebody stole a dog.”
He says friends can confirm the breeder gave them the pup.
Now, they’re not sure where Axel is. They both have nightmares. “He was the one thing we looked forward to coming home to,” Monks explains. -- Janine Zeitlin