Florida dog beaten with chain leash adopted by new family: 'She’s definitely scared'

A Florida dog who was allegedly attacked and beaten by a man with a chain at a Deltona gas station in February has a new family – and is healing and getting stronger each day, according to her new family.

Four-year-old "Bella" is now known as "Aera," inspired by a new era in her life – hopefully one filled with love, care, and empathy.  She was adopted by the Floyd family.

FOX 35 met up with the Floyd family recently to check in on Aera's progress.

"She’s definitely scared. We have a lot of things to work on, definitely doesn’t like males. With women, her tail will wag. She will be so happy. With men, even my 17-year-old, her tail goes between the legs," said Christie Floyd.

"You have to get down to her level and tell her you know, show her you’re not going to hurt her," she said. The Floyd's decided to adopt Aera after one of their family dogs, also a pit bull, died.


At the time, they were unaware of the alleged abuse the dog was rescued from. They're taking Aera's journey day by day with patience and support. They've also adopted another dog, "Dante," to hopefully be a friend to "Aera," and help her trust others.

According to Aera's family, she and Dante play together, and Aera spends a lot of time watching him.

Jose Rivera, 31, was arrested and booked into jail on a charge of felony animal cruelty, battery, and child abuse.

According to the arrest report, on Feb. 1, 2024, multiple people at a gas station saw a man, later identified as Rivera, beat the dog with a chain leash and then punch it in the face.A few people intervened and told the man to stop hitting the dog. That's when Rivera allegedly attempted to punch some of the witnesses, including a 13-year-old boy.

One witness grabbed the dog and brought it to his truck, the report said. Rivera tried to get the dog, but was put into a "hold" by the crowd. Rivera then took a squeegee and smashed it against someone's car, the report said.

The Floyd's said they're watching YouTube videos to learn about all the ways they can best help Aera cope and trust them. They said she's quiet, hardly barks, but hope Dante will help her gain her confidence back.