Man arrested on child abuse and animal cruelty charges

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - An Okaloosa County businessman has been arrested on child abuse and tormenting animals charges.

Damon Becnel is charged with child abuse without great bodily harm and animal cruelty. (WJHG/WECP)

According to arrest reports, Damon Becnel, 47, of Destin, was arrested January 2nd, but the report says the incident happened in December.

The report says on December 24th, the victim reported that Becnel had been physically abusive the day before. A few days later, the victim gave the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office video evidence of the incident, according to the report.

We want to warn some of the details could be disturbing to some readers.

The report says the video shows Becnel yelling at the victim about a dog. The video shows Becnel pulling a knife out and pointing it at the dog, yelling curse words and threatening to cut the dog's eyeballs out. The report says the video shows Becnel hitting the dog then grabbing it by the throat, throwing the dog to the ground. During this part of the video, reports say the victim was yelling at Becnel to stop.

The report goes on to say the victim jumps on Becnel's back and yells for him to stop. The report says Becnel grabs the victim by the hair and pushes the victim's head toward a bed, where the victim's head hits the frame or the post.

Reports say the next video shows Becnel still has the victim by the hair and yells at the victim. The video reportedly shows Becnel yelling at the victim and headbutting the victim. Reports say you can hear the victim's head hitting the wall right before the victim starts crying.

According to Chief Assistant State Attorney William Bishop, Becnel was released on $4,000 bond and cannot have contact with the victim.

Many community members say they want to see justice in this case.

"We are watching, to the second he gets in front of the judge, cause we don't want any society type things going on where he might get a little less," said the admin of a Facebook page in support of the victim and her pets.

"We have assigned this case to an experienced prosecutor who specializes in child abuse matters, she would be the assistant state attorney responsible for the prosecution. We intend to aggressively prosecute this case," said Bishop.

According to court records, Becnel has a plea hearing set for February.

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