Controversy arises over dog run over by lawnmower

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On May 14th, Vesta the dog was in the backyard at this home in the 3300 block of W. Fulton Boulevard. Out of nowhere, the dog walked in and was gushing blood.

Darin Tsoulos and his girlfriend had no clue what had happened to their pooch until the next day when they checked the surveillance video at their home.

It shows a man running over their dog while mowing the lawn on the other side of the fence in the yard next door.

A few days later, Tsoulos reported the incident to police.

On Thursday, Montey Caston was charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals.

Caston appeared to hit Vesta’s paw while mowing. Even though the dog jumped back and dropped to the ground, the man kept mowing.

Now Vesta’s left paw is wrapped in a hot pink bandage. Almost 2 years old, she’s on painkillers and walking with a limp.

Caston’s mother Rose Burns, who lives down the street, says her son is a dog lover and the incident couldn’t be anything but an accident.

“He said the dog evidently stuck his foot through the fence and he didn’t see it,” said Burns. “He clipped some of his paw, but he didn’t see the dog paw. It was an accident.”

“I know darn well he wouldn’t hurt a dog intentionally,” said Margo Ponche, a neighbor of Caston. “for [Tsoulos] to have him arrested like that….shame on him.”

The dog suffered several fractured bones and the vet bills total $1,800 and counting. Tsoulos says he’s convinced that his dog was injured on purpose.

“Every action has a consequence and his action could’ve cost [Vesta] her life,” said Tsoulos.

Caston is sitting in the Cook County jail with bond set at $75,000. If Caston is convicted, he could face up to 3 years in prison. He’s due in court again next Wednesday.

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  • Julie

    I just saw the surveilance video. I am amazed that this would be considered anything but an accident. I'm a dog lover, but this dog was aggressively playing chicken with the lawnmower. I don't know how the neighbor could have anticipated the dog sticking his foot under the fence. It is our responsibility to make sure our animals stay on our property. Maybe there is some history of bad blood between the neighbors. I am also wondering if the white neighbor would have been arrested if he accidentally clipped the paw of a black man's "aggressive animal.

    • joymar

      Supposedly man has a superior intelligence and moral conscience than a dog. Therefore, it would be the responsibility of the mower to watch out for the dog. Mower may not have intentionally hurt the dog, but once the dog fell, he should have checked it out. Julie, please don't bring race into everything. We need to learn to live together and by constantly bringing up the race issue, we perpetuate a ypu vs them mentality and true racial equality will never be achieved. Back to the main issue, I hope Vesta heals quickly and without too much pain.

  • RobW

    Thankfully it wasn't a child sticking a foot through the fence. When cutting the lawn, it's your responsibility to police the area and exercise extreme care when mowing. My nephew almost had his foot cut off a couple of years ago when someone was cutting the grass and backed up about 25 feet without looking. Accidents can happen, but mowers can be deadly and extra care needs to be taken when using them or any power equipment. Hopefully the dog will recover and the fence will be secured so the dog won't be able to get a paw under again.

  • FMLM

    It looks like an accident to these white eyes! This makes me sick, because the owners are using the law to exaggerate the incident and punish someone for what was an accident.. Obviously the dog was trespassing. There is no sound so it's no way of knowing if the dog was barking very aggressively at this man. Nevertheless, the guy knew he was in no danger from the dog, and in addition had a responsibility to operate his mower in a responsible way. From the clip shown, it appears to me he was just trying to mow the weeds/grass next to the fence and the dog was playing. He may not even notice the dog was injured. I do believe he is responsible for paying the costs of the vet for the dog, but the dog is PROPERTY! PROPERTY under the law. Geez, the vet bills are probably more than the dog cost! If you wrecked a guy's car, and it was a junker, you would only have to pay up to the blue book value of the car, not to fix the car no matter what the cost. And the owner knew or should have known the dog could stick his paw through that fence. He should have taken action to prevent that trespass by putting closer weave fencing over the wrought iron fence. If I lived there I would have taken that action already. I agree with the lady who said it is shameful they had the guy arrested. Arrested! This is what our godless society will come to; putting your property above the life of a man. I wish I had the money because I'd pay his bail and legal costs!

  • Neighbor

    I know this block and the man that is now locked up. These dogs are constantly barking and making noises when someone is close. This man is not completely "there" if you know what I mean, and these people also know that. For them to go and press charges like this is absurd when they know his mental state. They even mention having him do things for them so they should have known his personality unless they have people in their house without knowing anything about him. Everyone who knows Montey knows that he would not hurt a fly and loves to have him around. For him to be in jail and for that much needed for bail is just plain stupid. These people know they are wrong and I hope that the judge see's this and lets him go free. Forget about the races involved, the fact is this was not intentional and we are all praying for him to come back home soon and not go to jail for years for an accident.

  • Derek M

    You never, EVER push a lawnmower toward another living thing, and the video shows the man doing exactly this. This guy is absolutely guilty, and deserves the maximum penalty. It's really that simple.

  • guest

    Did anyone see the whole tape; not this edited version? Did anyone see an xray of the dogs' foot to determine what kind of cut was on the foot and condition of the bone in the paw? The pink bootie is cute BUT…. There are all kinds of social injustice going on here. There are all kinds of weird applications of the law in a neighborhood where residents can't get gang and drug people locked up who also shoot and kill but there is plenty of time to go after an "animal" issue. How much did it cost the taxpayer to lock the defendant in jail for a month when jails don't have space for killers? ACCIDENTS happen everyday I hope there is a GOOD judge who can straigten all this nonsense out. A search of the internet shows all kinds of 'HUMAN INTEREST stories about abused animals. What about abused and falsely charged minorities living in ghettos?