Burglar recovering from flashlight beating

PORT SALERNO, Fla. - Bob Couch can rest easy today, knowing his best friend has his back.

"Max. I'm proud of Max," said Couch, with a toothy grin.

His two-year-old yellow lab noticed something wasn't right Wednesday night.

"He was the first one to let me know. He's my hero," Couch said, with an even bigger grin.

Max started growling and barking at the door of Couch's Port Salerno home on 55 th Terrace. Couch woke up. He went to the door.

"When I was looking through the peephole, all I saw was his back," said Couch.

It was his neighbor, Loy Shufflar ... the one he says he gave a few rides, just to be nice. Both men are 54 years old. Couch says based on what happened next, he could not be nice anymore.

"[He] pulled the screen out and then pried up the window, and then once he got it up high enough, he was coming through," said Couch.

The window screen is still missing. Frayed pieces poke up from the base of the window.

Couch says Shufflar's arms and head were hanging inside his home. The homeowner felt he had to protect himself, so he grabbed the flashlight nearby.

"I hit him a couple times with the flashlight. He went out the window," Couch said.

He says Shufflar wouldn't stay put outside. He wanted to wait for deputies to arrest the man, so Couch hit Shufflar in the head several more times.

"It's a shame that people have to defend themselves from people like this, but if he had a gun, it could have gone another way. But we will be getting one," said Couch, who does not count himself as a violent person.

Eventually, Shufflar ran away, but deputies found him. He's charged with burglary.

As for Couch, he's sticking with his dog.

"He's got a steak coming," Couch said. "He's my buddy."

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