Florida

A Florida man said he was chasing a kitten. But how did his best friend get beaten up?

Douglas Allen Smith’s booking photo on July 28, 2019. The Pasco County man was charged with felony aggravated battery.
Douglas Allen Smith’s booking photo on July 28, 2019. The Pasco County man was charged with felony aggravated battery. Pasco County Sheriff's Office

We’ve all seen comedic videos in which a kitten gets on the loose and the house winds up trashed after the owner frantically chases the little fur ball down.

But the Pasco Sheriff’s Office didn’t find much funny when confronted with a situation inside a trashed home in Hudson, Florida, in the Tampa-St. Pete area early Sunday morning.

There, deputies say, the Ohio-born Douglas Allen Smith, 50, told them he remembered chasing his kitten in the house.

But, according to deputies, when they got to his house they found more than the usual disarray. They saw blood on the floor. And someone else inside, bloodied and beaten, who told them a story that had nothing to do with a cat.

Deputies said his “best friend,” Cary Vannote, told them Smith suddenly attacked him while they were hanging out and playing guitar and drinking hours earlier Saturday night.

Vannote was bloodied and stunned amid a room with smashed furniture, a busted guitar and a television set on the floor, Patch first reported.

“Doug became enraged for an unknown reason and began breaking his own possessions in his residence,” the arrest report said. “Doug then attacked Cary and struck him in the face multiple times by an unknown manner causing significant injuries to Cary’s face.”

The probable cause report listed hands, fist, feet and teeth as Smith’s weapons or tools.

Vannote, 50, was eventually able to break free from Smith, get into his truck and drive to his girlfriend’s house. She called 911.

Smith is charged with a felony count of aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability. He was booked into jail on Sunday and released Monday after paying his $20,000 bond, according to court records.

The kitten? Who knows. There’s no mention of a kitten’s whereabouts on the officers’ report.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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