A man was arrested on suspicion of kicking and badly injuring a beachgoer’s dog and then fighting with lifeguards in Port Hueneme, authorities said Monday.
Dylan McTaggart, 25, approached a beachgoer and her small dog from behind on Aug. 9 in the 500 block of East Surfside Drive, and without provocation, kicked the dog about “15 feet into the air,” the Port Hueneme Police Department said on Facebook.
The dog, Sophie, was kicked with so much force that her lung collapsed and her heart was displaced. The small dog went into shock and was left unconscious, authorities said.
Port Hueneme Lifeguards tried to intervene but McTaggart started “throwing punches” at them, according to officials.
Police officers arrived at the scene shortly before 2 p.m. and found McTaggart involved in an altercation with the lifeguards in a parking lot on the east end of the waterfront, according to the department.
When McTaggart saw the officers, he tried running away, but was ultimately taken into custody after a short chase, police said.
The suspect was described by police as a registered sex offender and a transient from Oxnard, who lives in the homeless encampment on Ormond Beach. McTaggart had been contacted several times by police for disturbing beachgoers and is on probation for assaulting officers and shoplifting, Port Hueneme police said.
“Calls for service involving transients disturbing at the beach and citywide have doubled from the previous year,” police said on Facebook.
McTaggart was taken to a Ventura County jail and booked on charges including fighting in public, assault on a lifeguard and felony animal cruelty, Port Hueneme police said.
His bail was set at $25,000, county inmate records show.
No sex offender registration was found under McTaggart’s name in the California Megan’s Law online database.
McTaggart’s arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday at a Ventura County court.
“Sophie is currently resting at home and is being cared for by her owner,” Port Hueneme police said.
The department said that there will be an officer assigned specifically to patrol the beach area.
Anyone with information was asked to call the Port Hueneme Police Department at 805-986-6530.