You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

A Florida man and his girlfriend had just reconciled. Then, she threw his dog off a 7th-floor balcony, police say.

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 3/3/2022 Jonathan Edwards
This undated photo provided by Carey Leisure & Neal shows a 3-year-old pug named Bucky. Officials say a 46-year-old woman has been arrested on animal cruelty charges after throwing the pug off a seventh-floor balcony in Clearwater, Fla., during an argument with her on-again-off-again boyfriend. (Eric Adeson/Carey Leisure & Neal via AP) © Eric Adeson/AP This undated photo provided by Carey Leisure & Neal shows a 3-year-old pug named Bucky. Officials say a 46-year-old woman has been arrested on animal cruelty charges after throwing the pug off a seventh-floor balcony in Clearwater, Fla., during an argument with her on-again-off-again boyfriend. (Eric Adeson/Carey Leisure & Neal via AP)

Eric Adeson watched his on-again-off-again girlfriend throw his cellphone from the seventh-floor balcony of his Florida condominium on Sunday. After she did the same thing with his keys, he warned her that he was going downstairs to call police.

Before he could, Adeson watched Shelley Nicole Vaughn pick up his 3-year-old pug, Bucky, Clearwater police wrote in court documents.

She smiled, Adeson said.

Then, Vaughn threw the 13-pound dog off the balcony, according to Adeson and police.

“I started screaming, screaming and screaming,” Adeson said Monday at a news conference recorded by Tampa-based TV station WFLA.

The fall killed Bucky. Vaughn has been charged with felony cruelty to animals, domestic battery and misdemeanor criminal mischief. She posted a $21,150 bond for the three charges and was released from jail Wednesday afternoon, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office records.

Vaughn, 46, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post early Thursday. She has pleaded not guilty.

Adeson and Vaughn had been dating off and on for about seven months, through “rocky times,” Adeson said at the news conference. The two had been broken up until last week when Vaughn, who lives two floors below Adeson in the same building in Clearwater, called him; her mom was ill and Vaughn was self-medicating with alcohol and “other substances,” he said.

Around 10 a.m. Sunday, Adeson said, he went to her place to help, only to find her intoxicated. He tried to get her to leave her apartment, thinking a walk on the beach might clear her head and allow for “a more meaningful conversation.” When it became apparent that Vaughn wouldn’t take his advice, Adeson said, he returned to his apartment.

“She followed me up to my unit, banging on the door, saying she loved me, to please let her in,” Adeson said. “Against my better judgment, I did let her in.”

Once inside, Vaughn grew increasingly angry, Adeson said. After chucking his phone, she allegedly attacked Adeson by scratching and hitting him until he fended her off. She grabbed his keys and, while Adeson managed to save his car key, she yanked away the others and hurled them out the window.

Moments later, she allegedly threw Bucky over the railing, too.

Adeson said he reacted by shoving her out the front door of his condo and starting to rush downstairs. But then he stopped, remembering that his other dog, a 13-year-old puggle named Sandy, was still inside. He stayed put, fearing the older dog would be harmed since he couldn’t lock his apartment without his keys.

After remembering that he had a second key and then securing his apartment, Adeson rushed downstairs. He found Bucky in a pool of blood and hugged him.

“I kept thinking maybe he would get up.”

Bucky didn’t.

On Monday, Adeson filed a lawsuit against Vaughn, an action his lawyer, Katherine Neal, described to WTVT as “something big and loud to scream to the community that these kinds of acts are unacceptable.”

Adeson used stronger language to describe his ex-girlfriend. He called her evil.

“I never thought anybody could do that,” Adeson told WTVT. “I never thought anybody would have that in them.”

Adeson told WTVT that he got Bucky in 2019 to provide companionship for Sandy, who was going through cancer treatment. He described Bucky as playful and sweet, even if he occasionally got into the trash. He never thought “in a million years that Sandy would survive the cancer and still be alive at 13 and actually outlive Bucky,” Adeson said. “That’s the tragedy of it.”

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Washington Post

The Washington Post
The Washington Post
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon