When a Florida man became angry with his pet and began beating the dog, he had no idea he was being recorded. After his heinous abuse was caught on video, it went viral and led to a police investigation. The suspected animal abuser has since learned his fate.
Marcus Chiddister, a 23-year-old Florida man, was visiting a Fort Myers RaceTrac gas station when he became angered by his dog’s behavior. The 2-year-old pit bull named Sheeba was in the backseat of Chiddister’s gold Chrysler sedan when the man began “punishing” the dog. Furious, Chiddister started punching the dog repeatedly to teach it a lesson, but it would be Chiddister who learned the hard way.
Unbeknownst to him, Chiddister had caught the attention of a bystander, who recorded the dog owner punching his 2-year-old pit bull in the face while parked at the gas station. After the atrocious beating was caught on video, Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers released the footage to the public and media outlets, and it wasn’t long before it went viral, reaching a wide audience online.
A RaceTrac employee, who saw the footage of the dog being beaten in news coverage and social media posts, reached out to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) and identified the man in the video as Chiddister, according to NBC 2. While investigating the video at the same gas station where the beating occurred, deputies spotted Chiddister driving up in the same gold-colored Chrysler shown in the video.
Deputies questioned Chiddister, who admitted that Sheeba had eaten his food on the day in question, making him angry. However, he later told police that he was not punching the dog but rather “punching cockroaches in a pile of clothing in the backseat,” The Blaze reported. However, when the allegedly abused dog was taken to Lee County Domestic Animal Services, the examination of the pit bull painted a much different picture.
The examination of the dog revealed significant findings indicating abuse, including broken teeth, Yahoo! News reported. Sheeba was also found to have a fractured and exposed pulp cavity, resolving hemorrhage of the left eye, mild swelling of the left and right eyes, bruises around the right ventral neck area, and bruising consistent with animal cruelty. According to the veterinarian, the soft tissue bruising discovered on the dog was from contusions associated with blunt force trauma through hitting with a fist/hand.
After the exam revealed the extent of the dog’s injuries and determined that they were “non-accidental,” Lee County Domestic Animal Services took possession of the pit bull, who was later adopted by a new loving family in Lee County. Meanwhile, Marcus Chiddister, who was reportedly living at the Travelodge across the street from the RaceTrac on US-41 with his girlfriend, was tracked down by detectives.
While being questioned, Chiddister and his 23-year-old girlfriend, Kiara Howse, acknowledged having a dog named Sheeba, which they said they had owned for a few months after rescuing the dog. The pair told detectives about Sheeba eating Chiddister’s food, upsetting him. Chiddister claimed that he was striking cockroaches on clothes in the backseat, but Howse said that “Chiddister went to the back seat and hit Sheba multiple times, and it’s not the first time he’s hit the dog like that,” NBC 2 reported.
Marcus Chiddister was booked into the Lee County Jail. After pleading guilty to beating the dog at a Fort Myers gas station, Chiddister was sentenced to three years in prison and two years of probation after release, according to WINK News. In addition, police filed a petition to the court, asking that Marcus Chiddister and Kiara Howse both be forbidden from ever owning a dog or any other animal again.
The sheriff had a strong response to the actions of Marcus Chiddister as well as the sentence he received. In a message to the public, Sheriff Carmine Marceno echoed the sentiments of many social media users, who had seen the disturbing video of the abuse inflicted on Sheeba. In his statement, Sheriff Marceno not only condemned Chiddister but also vowed to “always protect those who cannot protect themselves.”
“These people aren’t human beings!” Sheriff Marceno said of the animal-abusing couple, summarizing what most people felt while watching the footage. “I will ALWAYS protect those who cannot protect themselves,” the sheriff furthered in a Facebook post. “Punching an animal over and over again with a closed fist is disgusting,” he continued. “My detectives and legal team worked TIRELESSLY alongside our partners at the State Attorney’s Office,” Marceno added. “I am proud to say their hard work led to the sentencing for this criminal’s abusive actions.”