KPRC ran a story Thursday about an Oak Forest man who claimed that his 15-year-old dog was stolen from his home and euthanized; the perpetrators left a typewritten note on a car windshield explaining what happened, and the man's fervent pleas lit up the Oak Forest Homeowners Association Facebook page.
The man, Jesse Reznicek, filed a police report, and he told KPRC that he had called shelters to see if the dog, Brutus, was possibly still alive. Strangely, it appears that Reznicek did not call his former roommate, who recently moved out of state, and who says he was Brutus' primary caretaker for the last five years, while Reznicek was in and out of jail for theft.
Reznicek has quite a prodigious record of theft, dating back to 1995 in Harris County, but he also had convictions in other counties. A quick sampling of his history shows a 180-day jail sentence on a theft conviction out of Fort Bend County in 2005 and he pleaded guilty to a theft charge in Montgomery County in 2008 and was sentenced to a year in county jail. He was sentenced to six months in Harris County Jail in 2010, and 11 months to state jail in 2014.
It looks like stealing shit was more important to Reznicek than the chocolate lab named Brutus. And someone had to take care of the dog while Reznicek was away; that responsibility fell to his ex-roommate, the Len O'Connor, whose house Reznicek was squatting in while he spoke to KPRC.
O'Connor said no one "broke" into the home, and he believes some friends of his from the animal rescue community who helped him move last weekend were probably stunned by what kind of shape Brutus was in. O'Connor paid for Brutus' veterinary expenses — just as he recently dropped nearly $4,000 on Reznicek's other dog, Maxie, who was also gravely ill and had to be put down. (Reznicek told the Houston Press that there were no veterinary records in existence listing him as Brutus' owner, because O'Connor paid the bills).
"Brutus was in very, very, very bad shape," O'Connor told us. "He had severe arthritis, extreme muscle atrophy. He also was to the point where he had a herniated disc in his back and he would just defecate — he'd be sleeping and just poop all over the place. He couldn't hold his urine. He had trouble getting up....Brutus just laid there and he was panting so hard from pain, he didn't know what to do."
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O'Connor added that the people who helped him move "probably went in to try to help Brutus because Jesse would have just let him suffer and suffer and suffer."
O'Connor claimed not to know specifically who took Brutus, or where he was euthanized. He said it wasn't Brutus' regular vet, because he would've been contacted — and, he says, he would have given his consent to have Brutus put down.
Of course it's reprehensible for strangers to take someone's dog, but it seems that in this case the ownership was unclear. It's also unclear why O'Connor didn't have Brutus euthanized before he left, especially if he felt the dog was in that much pain. We're also not sure why the people who took Brutus didn't confront Reznicek. And we're really not sure why a veterinarian would euthanize a dog without contacting the owner.
Still, it does appear Reznicek misrepresented the facts online, and to KPRC. Who knows how candid Reznicek was with the Houston Police Department officer who took his report. We also wonder, if Reznicek gets another dog, who will actually be the one taking care of it.