A Florida woman is behind bars after allegedly killing her boyfriend’s dog with a smile, according to court documents.
Shelley Nicole Vaughn, 46, is charged with animal cruelty after she allegedly throwing the dog off the balcony of her boyfriend’s seventh-floor apartment, according to Pinellas County Court records viewed by Law&Crime. She is also charged with domestic battery (for allegedly striking her boyfriend) and with criminal mischief.
Animal cruelty is generally a third-degree felony in Florida, which means it is punishable upon conviction by up to five years in prison.
The Clearwater Police Department responded to the crime scene on Sunday. Officers stated that they arrived at the apartment of Eric Adeson just before noon, who told them that his dog had been killed earlier that day.
He told officers that the dog was killed by Vaughn, a fellow resident in the condominium who “he had been dating . . . for several months.”
The two had been arguing, Adeson told the officers, and as the fight between the two escalated, Vaughn “tossed his cell phone and keys off the balcony.” Police also stated that Vaughn “struck” Adeson at one point.
It all allegedly culminated with Vaughn throwing Adeson’s “three-year-old pug, Bucky, off his seventh-floor balcony.”
Adeson, 56, told the responding officers that the dog had died before he made it downstairs.
The officers then made their way to Vaughn’s apartment — only to discover that she had fled the building. Attempts to locate her that day proved to be fruitless, and she did not return to her residence that evening.
Police were able to locate her by Monday and booked her into Pinellas County Jail. Vaughn was scheduled to make her first court appearance on Tuesday afternoon.
Her legal troubles do not end there, however, as Adeson has also filed a civil suit against his ex-girlfriend.
Adeson alleges in court papers that alcohol played a role in the dispute. He claims that the fight occurred when he asked Vaughn to leave his apartment because he believed she had been drinking that morning.
“Vaughn, refused to leave Plaintiff’s home and proceeded to throw Plaintiff’s personal property, including his cell phone and keys, over the 7th floor exterior balcony railing of Plaintiff’s home,” states the civil suit obtained by Law&Crime.
Adeson claims that, at this point, he once again instructed Vaughn to leave his apartment.
“Upon Plaintiff’s final request to leave his home, [Vaughn], stopped, smiled at Plaintiff, picked up his small puggle dog ‘Bucky,’ and threw him over the exterior balcony railing to the concrete parking lot below, resulting in the death of Plaintiff’s pet dog and companion,” reads the suit.
Adeson is seeking damages “in excess of Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00), exclusive of interest and costs,” according to his complaint. In the cover sheet submitted for the same case, however, he estimates that the total amount of the claim will be over $100,000.
He cites intentional infliction of emotional distress as the reason he is owed those alleged damages in his suit. This means he will have to prove that Vaughn acted intentionally and exhibited extreme behavior when she committed the act that caused his severe emotional distress.
Adeson is seeking a jury trial.
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