A 31-year-old Florida man has been arrested on animal cruelty charges in the death of Ollie the pit bull, who died after being stabbed more than 50 times and stuffed in a suitcase.
Brendan Evans was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, the Hollywood Police Department said on November 22. The investigation into Ollie the dog’s death began in October when he was found crying by a passerby. His case drew national attention and support from animal lovers around the world.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. More Than $40,000 Was Raised to Help Ollie, but He Died After Going Into Cardiac Arrest Days After He Was Found
Animal lovers rallied to support Ollie the pit bull after he was found on October 10. He was treated by veterinarians at an animal hospital, but his injuries were too severe too survive. More than $40,000 was raised through a GoFundMe campaign started by Grateful Paws Dog & Cat Rescue in Fort Lauderdale.
“In my 18 years of animal rescue here in South Florida, this is one of the most horrific cases of animal abuse I have ever seen,” Jan Milbyer, of Grateful Paws said on the GoFundMe page.
Ollie, whose full name is Oliver, was found by a couple walking on Lee Street in Hollywood on October 10 about 1 a.m. They heard his cries and saw his paws sticking out of a suitcase, according to police. Officers responded and rushed the dog to the VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital, but he died two days later.
“It is with VERY heavy heart that we report that Ollie went into cardiac arrest last night and has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Five doctors, including a cardiologist
tried to revive him for more than an hour – to no avail,” Milbyer said on GoFundMe.
His caretakers told the Sun-Sentinel that Oliver remained a happy, friendly, sweet and trusting dog throughout his time at the animal hospital.
“When he died, there were tears everywhere,” Linda Ream, spokeswoman for the animal hospital, told the newspaper. “It was silent in the building. Our doctors worked so hard to give Ollie that chance to stay with us.”
Dr. Nicole Patterson, who helped treat Ollie, told the Sun-Sentinel, “He went into shock as a result of all of his wounds. He was a really tough dog and he hung in there for as long as he could. It was just too much for his body to handle.”
A necropsy was performed to help bolster the case. A $65,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest, but it is not clear if anyone will collect that reward. Some of the funds raised on GoFundMe went to pay for Ollie’s hospital bills, while the remainder will be used to help other dogs in need, according to the charity.
Hollywood Police linked Evans to Ollie through DNA found on the suitcase the dog was left to die in, according to the department’s press release.
2. Police Found Dead Animal Parts in Evans’ Home, Along With Blood & Fur & Say He Told Officers He Practices Voodoo & Wanted to Sacrifice a Duck
Police found several disturbing things when searching Brendan Evans’ Lee Street apartment in Hollywood, according to WSVN-TV. The home was searched on November 14.
Officers found multiple dead animals, including several rats with body parts removed, as well as cat paws, the news station reports. Police noted there was blood spatter on the walls of the apartment and in a bedroom, and appeared to be fur in the oven.
Evans told Fort Lauderdale Police during an unrelated incident in February that he wanted to kill a duck because he practices voodoo and it’s his religious right, according to the news station.
Police said they also found an 8-pointed star drawn on a kitchen wall and a candle shrine in his Hollywood apartment. The shrine included pieces of the Crimestoppers flyer about Ollie’s death, according to WSVN.
3. He Is Also Facing Charges for Burglary & Has Been in Custody Since November 15
Evans was taken into custody on burglary and probation violation charges on November 15 following the search of his home. According to WBBH-TV, fingerprints taken during the investigation linked Evans to an open burglary investigation in Hollywood.
He was charged with burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and is being held on $10,000 bail in that case. He is being held without bail on the probation violation, records show.
4. Evans Was Convicted of Robbing a Bank in 2015 & Has a Lengthy Record That Also Includes Domestic Violence
Brendan Evans has a lengthy criminal record that includes a bank robbery in Brooksville, Florida. He was arrested on August 17, 2015, in about 45 minutes after the robbery, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release at the time.
Evans robbed the SunTrust Bank and fled on a stolen bicycle. Evans was later spotted by a police helicopter entering WestBridge, a treatment center for mental illness and substance abuse, where he was living at the time, the sheriff’s office said.
Evans pleaded guilty in October 2015 and was sentenced to 15 years of probation. He has been charged with a probation violation in that case after his arrest on the burglary and animal cruelty charges.
Evans was also arrested on domestic violence charges in 2012 in Pompano Beach. He is a Virginia native and has a lengthy criminal record in his home state, public records show, including felony drug possession, possession of marijuana, driving while intoxicated and numerous traffic violations.
5. He Could Face Up to 5 Years in Prison on the Animal Cruelty Charge
Evans was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, a charge that could result in up to 5 years in prison if convicted.
“We will not tolerate any form of animal cruelty or violence in our city. Each reported case of animal cruelty, be it physical abuse or neglect, is disturbing, and this case is particularly heartbreaking,” Hollywood Police Chief Chris O’Brien said in a statement. “We were all pulling for Ollie to survive, but unfortunately he didn’t make it. However, due to our investigation, we are now able to provide justice for Ollie.”