Man arrested after pepper-spraying teen and dog

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A Pasco County family is frustrated after a run-in with their neighbor left them and their dog covered in pepper spray.  

Al Stricker described the almost unreal encounter he had with his neighbor Nicholas Sofarelli.

“He was right there at the fence trying to get me. It was just weird,” said Stricker. “I don’t know if it was drugs. I don’t know if it was alcohol. I don’t know what it was, but he was not in his right mind.”

Stricker says he went to check on his dogs because 4-year-old Theo had been barking at something in the backyard of his Hudson area home.

Stricker says he found Sofarelli pestering the dogs, trying to zap them with a taser.

“I just kept telling him to go home, and he just wanted to fight,” continued Stricker.

Stricker says things got even more bizarre when Sofarelli pulled out pepper spray.  Stricker’s 16-year-old son, who came out to help, was hit in the face with a stream of the liquid.

“I saw him go down and started screaming,” he said.

Pasco County sheriff’s deputies pulled up a short time later and arrested Sofarelli.  He told deputies Stricker’s barking dogs prompted the attack.

“If my dogs were a nuisance to somebody, I wish they would say something to me, and then we could figure out the problem,” said Stricker. “Now do I have to worry about this guy saying something to my 16-year-old son.  I work a lot of nights. Now I’m afraid that my wife and my kids are here by themselves."

Sofarelli faces charges of animal cruelty and child abuse.