Lee sheriff sues woman, says she is not fit to care for pet dog

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office asked a judge to take Boots, a dog, away from his owner. (CREDIT: WINK News)

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is taking on a dog owner in court after the state said it would not prosecute the woman in court.

Boots is at the center of the lawsuit.

Jeanette Davis, 66, is on one side. And on the other is Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.

Marceno went to civil court to ask a judge to take away Boots, a terrier mix, from Davis.

“This is just unusual,” said FGCU Professor David Thomas, a former police officer. “I will tell you that it’s unusual.”

The sheriff made the decision to sue after the state attorney refused to file criminal charges. Deputies believe Davis, while a guest at La Quinta Inn, either tossed or allowed Boots to fall three floors to the ground. Guests at the hotel said the loud noise sounded like a soda can hitting the ground.

Boots got away with minor injuries, but Davis ended up at the hospital disoriented.

“The sheriff had one perspective where they went to charge her with cruelty to animals. And then when you read the whole report, you’ve got to recognize that there’s some sort of elderly mental health thing going on,” Thomas said.

Thomas said law enforcement agencies usually use civil lawsuits to recover costs from major investigations. The sheriff’s lawsuit asked a judge to order Davis unfit to care for her dog.

“This is one of those things that just probably irked him to no end,” Thomas said.

Marceno has put on billboards declaring he won’t put up with animal abuse.

The judge ordered Boots can stay with Davis.

Davis declined to talk about the case, only Boots.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said Marceno declined to talk about the case.

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