Harrison County

A Gulfport man was accused of beating his dog, but the charge didn’t stick

Albert, a 2-year-old dog owned by Billy Swain of Gulfport
Albert, a 2-year-old dog owned by Billy Swain of Gulfport Courtesy Reaghan Swain

An animal cruelty charge against a Gulfport resident accused of beating a dog was dismissed Wednesday morning in Biloxi Municipal Court because of a lack of evidence.

Billy Swain was arrested after his daughter-in-law posted a video on Facebook of him allegedly yelling at the dog then repeatedly punching something in his truck. He eventually hit something in the truck with a blunt object that appeared to be a flashlight.

Swain was accused of hitting the dog after he dropped off his grandson at his home in Biloxi. A home surveillance system filmed the scene. The boy went inside crying, telling his mother the dog was being beaten and that he might be dead, according to the mother.

Senior Municipal Prosecutor Robert Harenski said he is a dog lover, but he had to drop the case because the video was misleading and the dog has been well cared for, according to all other evidence. The daughter-in-law, who is the mother of Swain’s grandson, agreed to the dismissal, Harenski said.

Harenski said Gulfport officers showed up multiple times to check on the dog, who seemed to be well-tended.

“They reported the animal was perfectly fine,” Harenski said. “In fact, the language in there was, ‘He’s happy as can be.’ ”

The dog also had a good report from a veterinarian.

Billy Swain left court after the case was dismissed. He is still dismayed by the attention the video received.

"It looked like I was beating my dog, but I wasn't," Swain said. "It went nationwide. It went viral. I've been threatened.

"You can put anything on the internet you want and no one will stop it."

Swain says he loves his dog, Albert, who will turn 2 years old at Christmas.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99