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Vet Suspected of Punching Dog, Dislodging Its Eye

SUN CITY, AZ -- A Sun City West veterinarian was arrested on suspicion of punching a five-pound Chihuahua five times in the head, temporarily blinding one eye of the dog.

Dr. Joshua Winston faces charges of animal cruelty and theft, according to a prepared statement from Maricopa County Sheriff's office.

Winston allegedly struck the Chihuahua's head five times and dislodged the dog's eye on June 4, according to the statement. The dog needed corrective surgery after the incident, according to the statement.

"Bella (the Chihuahua) has a good chance of regaining sight," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Two veterinary technicians witnessed the abuse and said that the uncooperative dog angered Winston, according to that statement.

"We concentrate on anybody; anybody who abuses animals will go to jail," Arpaio said. "It's discouraging that this would occur," Arpaio said.

Winston also faces theft charges from an incident earlier this year. The sheriff's department said Winston was supposed to vaccinate a feisty Neapolitan Mastiff, according to the statement. Winston put the medication down the sink, instead of vaccinating the dog, and charged the dog's owner $80, according to the statement.

"We don't give them (animal abusers) a court summons, we take them to jail," Arpaio said. "I hope that this is just an isolated incident."

Winston worked as the only doctor at the Sun City West Animal Hospital, near West Camino Del Sol and NRH Johnson Boulevard.

Arpaio said that these were the only incidents brought to officials' attention by the veterinary assistants. Arpaio said that if customers had concerns, officials would investigate the allegations.

No one from the animal hospital was available to comment.

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