Navy veteran beaten for trying to protect turtle from torture

Posted at 5:03 PM, Feb 16, 2017

A Navy veteran says he was attacked and assaulted because he came to the aid of a defenseless animal.

Gary Blough of Daytona Beach, Florida, found three young men torturing a turtle outside his home on Tuesday afternoon. He claims one man picked up the turtle up and threw it “as hard as he could” on its shell. He also said the men were kicking the turtle and preventing it from returning from the water.

“One of its legs was (on the sidewalk),” Blough told WOFL-TV. “(The sidewalk) was covered with blood.”

Blough stopped the men long enough to help the turtle return to the water, but that’s when the group came after him. He claims he was hit in the back of the head, wrestled to the ground and kicked repeatedly. The scuffle left Blough with a swollen black eye and a possible concussion.

The men attempted to flee the scene, but an officer eventually caught up with them. Ryan Ponder, 23, Johnnie Beveritt, 18, were charged with aggravated battery and animal cruelty. A 16-year-old was taken into custody at a juvenile detention facility.

Blough suspects the turtle died following the incident.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.