CLEARWATER — A woman threw a 3-year-old dog off of a seventh-floor balcony during an argument Sunday, killing him, according to the Clearwater Police Department.
Clearwater police responded to a call at 880 Mandalay Ave., a condominium on Clearwater Beach, before noon Sunday. Eric Adeson told officers that 46-year-old Shelley Nicole Vaughn, a woman he’d been dating for several months, threw his pug, Bucky, off the balcony during the disagreement.
The dog was found dead on the pavement below.
Vaughn also tossed his keys and cellphone off the balcony and struck him, Adeson said.
Vaughn, who lives in the same condominium complex as Adeson, could not be located Sunday, police said. She was arrested Monday and faces charges of aggravated animal cruelty, criminal mischief and domestic battery.
Vaughn was booked into the Pinellas County Jail Monday evening.
Adeson said he adopted Bucky as a puppy when his then-10-year-old puggle, Sandy, was undergoing cancer treatment. The two had been playmates since Bucky first arrived at Adeson’s home.
“He (Bucky) just actually had his third birthday,” Adeson said. “I never thought that Sandy would outlive Bucky.”
Katherine Neal, a lawyer representing Adeson, filed a civil complaint against Vaughn on Monday afternoon in the Pinellas County Clerk of Court office, asking for $30,000 in damages.
According to the complaint, Vaughn entered Adeson’s home and appeared to be intoxicated. She was verbally aggressive toward Adeson, and he asked her to leave, telling her they could speak later, the document said.
But instead of leaving, Vaughn started throwing Adeson’s possessions over the seventh-floor balcony while Adeson again asked Vaughn to leave, the complaint said.
At that point, according to the complaint, Vaughn stopped, smiled, picked up Bucky and threw him over the balcony railing.
In a phone interview Monday night with Adeson and Neal, Adeson said he called the law firm when police hadn’t arrested Vaughn 24 hours after the incident. The complaint was a way to give Adeson a voice, Neal said.
“It’s unusual for something to happen, and the very next day, file a lawsuit,” Neal said. “But we felt it was important to … prompt what ultimately happened later today, which was her arrest.”
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Adeson said he is devastated.
“I would encourage people to love their pets and appreciate their pets and hug their pets tonight,” he said. “Because you don’t know that they’ll be there tomorrow.”