A Collier County judge has OK'd the release of the older medical records of a puppy allegedly beaten to death after the state and the defense came to an agreement.
Thursday's authorization comes after Assistant State Attorney Laura Farrell on Sept. 7 filed a motion seeking the records prior to the dog's July 29, 2022, death.
According to that motion, the absence of prior medical records would raise the possibility in the jury's mind that something other than the beating caused the dog's death, and without the Grace Veterinary records, the state "would be unable to rebut that possibility."
Robert Garon, 24, faces animal cruelty charges. His mother, Suzanne Garon, said the trial, now scheduled Jan. 2, has experienced several delays, causing the family "unnecessary trauma."
During a Thursday phone call, Suzanne Garon said Buzz Lightyear, who died when he was 5 months old, suffered from several medical issues, including abdominal pain, when he became a member of the Garon household.
She added the puppy had surgery within days of the family bringing him home from Petland Naples, 1000 Immokalee Road.
Collier Circuit Judge John McGowan on Dec. 8, 2022, partly denied a motion seeking the release of Buzz Lightyear's medical records. At the time, he only authorized the release of records after his death.
But McGowan ruled differently Thursday.
The Collier County Sheriff's Office began investigating Aug. 2, 2022, after Collier County Domestic Animal Services contacted it about a suspected abuse involving the puppy.
Detectives with the sheriff's office's Animal Cruelty Investigations Alliance arrested Robert Garon on Aug. 11, 2022, and charged him with the late July slaying of his 5-month-old puppy.
The investigation showed Robert Garon and his girlfriend took Buzz to the Emergency Pet Hospital, where they were allegedly unable to provide hospital staff with an explanation for the puppy's injuries, officials said.
The puppy was wet, disoriented, and unable to breathe normally, unable to stand or pick its head up. The puppy died at the hospital.
A witness later contacted the hospital and told staff they heard Robert Garon beating the puppy on July 29, according to the sheriff's office report.
"This dog’s death was caused by non-accidental, blunt force trauma to the head and body with secondary internal hemorrhage. I believe he suffered significantly from his injuries before death," the report said in part.
Robert Garon graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a finance degree. He and his girlfriend have both lost their jobs since the incident, Suzanne Garon said.
In May, Suzanne Garon shared hope that depositions would prove her son's innocence.
Tomas Rodriguez is a Breaking/Live News Reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. You can reach Tomas at TRodriguez@gannett.com or 772-333-5501. Connect with him on Threads @tomasfrobeltran, Instagram @tomasfrobeltran, Facebook @tomasrodrigueznews and Twitter @TomasFRoBeltran.
This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: Collier judge OKs release of medical records in puppy's 2022 death