A Key West woman may have to give up her three dogs after a jury convicted her of choking and beating her pit bull in public.
Jillian Morgan Gotti, 41, lifted her pit bull Serenity up by her collar and slammed her against the bench of her dinghy, which was docked outside the Turtle Kraals restaurant, 231 Margaret St., on May 6, 2017, Monroe County Court Judge Mark Wilson decided April 25. Gotti was convicted by the court because she waived her right to be tried by a jury.
Witnesses saw Gotti hitting Serenity and strangling her with her collar.
A restaurant manager videotaped the beating, which included Gotti yelling profanities at onlookers and showing them her middle finger. Four witnesses testified about the abuse.
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On the video she calls Serenity a “dumb bitch” for drawing attention and curses at customers showing concern for her dogs.
The State Attorney's Office wants Gotti to serve 12 months of probation, pay $928 in fines, court costs and prosecution costs — and also surrender her three dogs: Serenity, Gizmo and Gia.
Sentencing is set for May 23 before Wilson.
Gotti still has possession of the trio, the Florida Keys SPCA said Friday.
"We take it very seriously before we ask for forfeiture of animals," said Assistant State Attorney Marisa Rose Faraldo Tedesco, who secured the animal cruelty conviction, a misdemeanor, at the Monroe County Courthouse.
Gotti reportedly left the dogs on her boat in the sun for hours on end and hit the pit bull, Serenity, in the face, and threw both dogs into her dinghy down at Key West Historic Seaport, according to an arrest affidavit.