Florida Keys

He punched a woman in the head before throwing her dog down the stairs, cops say

Sean Booth Chidester
Sean Booth Chidester Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Before a Middle Keys man arrested earlier this week on animal cruelty charges severely beat a small dog, he pummeled a woman so hard that she needed staples to close the wounds on her head, according to new details about the case released by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Friday.

Sean Booth Chidester, 35, was already in jail on a felony animal cruelty charge, and now faces a felony aggravated battery charge based on new information police received from the victim, who is also the owner of the miniature pinscher that Chidester is accused of abusing Monday night.

The victim told deputies she was outside her Marathon home Monday night standing by a bonfire when Chidester put it out with a fire extinguisher. The two began arguing and then Chidester repeatedly punched the woman in the head and then destroyed her television set, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt said.

He then picked up the dog, named Penny, and threw her down a set of stairs on the house’s porch. Being slammed down the roughly 10-foot stairway resulted in the dog suffering multiple fractures to her pelvis.

“The vet stated the dog may have suffered long-term nerve damage,” Linhardt said. “The vet added the dog may he unable to urinate on its own and may require a catheter.”

Deputies were called to Fishermen’s Community Hospital Monday night to respond to reports about the victim’s injuries, Linhardt said.

The veterinarian then called the Sheriff’s Office Tuesday morning when the victim took the dog in for treatment. The Sheriff’s Office then put out a notice to the public to be on the lookout for Chidester.

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper arrested him Tuesday night near 126th Street on U.S. 1.

On Friday, Chidester was in county jail on Stock Island, held on no bond.

Chidester was arrested in July 2016 on felony aggravated battery on a pregnant woman. The State Attorney’s Office ended up dropping the charge a month later, however, because the victim, who originally wished to press charges, decided not to proceed, according to court documents.