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Clearwater woman who threw ex’s pug off 7th floor balcony gets jail time

Shelley Nicole Vaughn pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and criminal mischief.
Shelley Vaughn, 47, was sentenced to 364 days in jail after pleading guilty to aggravated animal cruelty and criminal mischief.
Shelley Vaughn, 47, was sentenced to 364 days in jail after pleading guilty to aggravated animal cruelty and criminal mischief. [ Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Dec. 2, 2022|Updated Dec. 2, 2022

A Clearwater woman accused of throwing her ex-boyfriend’s 3-year-old pug off a balcony during an argument, killing the dog, has been sentenced to 364 days in jail, according to court records.

Shelley Nicole Vaughn, 47, went before Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Michael Andrews for sentencing last month after she pleaded guilty over the summer to a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals and criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.

At the time of her sentencing, Vaughn received credit for 257 days she had already served in the Pinellas County Jail. After she is released from jail, she will remain on probation for four years. As part of the conditions of her probation, Vaughn is not allowed to own any animals.

Vaughn threw the dog, whose name was Bucky, off a balcony on the seventh floor of a Clearwater Beach condominium on Feb. 27, police said. Officers responded to a call before noon that day to 880 Mandalay Ave., where Eric Adeson told officers that he and Vaughn had gotten into an argument. The two had been dating for several months, he said, and Vaughn also threw his keys and cell phone off the balcony during the argument. Vaughn appeared to be intoxicated at the time, police said.

Bucky, a 3-year-old pug, was thrown from a seventh floor balcony in Clearwater.
Bucky, a 3-year-old pug, was thrown from a seventh floor balcony in Clearwater. [ Carey Leisure & Neal ]

Vaughn’s attorney did not return requests for comment.

Court records show that Adeson got a domestic dating violence injunction against Vaughn that lasts until 2025. He also filed a civil suit against Vaughn before her arrest, and said he settled it for $3,000 — the cost of Bucky’s funeral and expenses for if he should choose to get another dog.

Adeson said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times that he felt Vaughn received a harsh, but fair sentence and that justice was served.

As part of her sentence, Vaughn must undergo a mental health evaluation and a substance abuse evaluation and receive treatment if the evaluations find that it is needed.

In the time since the incident, Adeson hasn’t gotten a new dog, but said his older puggle is now 13 and is doing well. He’s also since found a a new girlfriend, a woman he met at the gym.

“The one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t fix somebody else’s problems,” Adeson said. “They need to fix their own problems.”